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US Panel Recommends Covid Vaccines for Children under Age 5

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Formal authorizations for Moderna and Pfizer should follow soon, with the first shots in arms expected early next week, just over a year-and-a-half after the first Covid vaccines were greenlighted for the elderly in December 2020.

Washington: A panel of experts convened by the US Food and Drug Administration unanimously recommended Covid-19 vaccines Wednesday for children under five, the final age group awaiting immunization in most countries.

Formal authorizations for Moderna and Pfizer should follow soon, with the first shots in arms expected early next week, just over a year-and-a-half after the first Covid vaccines were greenlighted for the elderly in December 2020.

This recommendation does fill a significant unmet need for a really ignored younger population,” said Michael Nelson, a professor of medicine at the University of Virginia, one of the 21 experts asked to vote for the milestone meeting.

Opening the discussion, senior FDA scientist Peter Marks said that despite studies showing the majority of children have now been infected with the coronavirus, the high rate of hospitalizations among infants, toddlers and young children during last winter’s Omicron wave underscored an urgent need for vaccination.

We are dealing with an issue where we have to be careful we don’t become numb to the pediatric deaths because of the overwhelming number of older deaths,” he said “Every life is important and vaccine-preventable deaths are something we would like to try to do something about.

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