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FDA panel recommends authorization of COVID vaccines for children under 5

The decision to recommend their authorization was unanimous, with none of the twenty-one members dissenting.

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Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver BC
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A panel of advisors at the Food and Drug Administration has recommended the authorization of COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5 years of age.

The vaccines still face numerous hurdles before they will be given the green light to be used, however the process is expected to happen quickly after this panel's authorization.

As NBC News reports, the Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee met on Wednesday to discuss and vote for the use of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for children ages 6 months to 4 years and 6 months to 5 years, respectively

The decision to recommend their authorization was unanimous, with none of the twenty-one members dissenting.

In the coming days, the FDA is expected to grant an emergency use authorization for the vaccines, while an advisory panel for the Centers for Disease Control will decide whether to offer their endorsement this weekend. Once those steps are completed, the only thing standing between the vaccines and children across America is the signature of CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

The push to vaccinate children has been the cause of much debate, with some saying it is unnecessary given COVID-19's effect on younger people, and others arguing that precautionary protection is worth it.

Historically, children have generally been the age demographic to be least likely to contract the virus, and least likely to die if they do contact it, according to CDC data.

"I know that the death rate from COVID among young children may not be extremely high," said committee member Dr. Jay Portnoy, "but it's absolutely terrifying to parents to have their child be sick and have to go to the hospital or even go to the emergency room or their primary care doctor because they’re sick and having trouble breathing."

According to data obtained by NBC News, Moderna vaccines are given via two child-size doses four weeks apart, and have a 40 to 50 percent efficacy rate against mild omicron infections. The company said they expect boosters will be necessary "at some point in time."

In clinical trials, Pfizer's three-dose regimen was 80 percent effective.

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