CDC advisors meet to discuss vaccines for the youngest children

Almost exactly 18 months after the first coronavirus vaccine was approved for adults, and after months of scientific hiccups, the youngest Americans may finally get their shots.

During discussions scheduled for Friday and Saturday, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s scientific advisors will use the Moderna vaccine for children under the age of 6 and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children under the age of 5. Discuss about. Neither vaccine is intended for infants under the age of six. A few months after birth.

No surprises are expected. On Wednesday, Food and Drug Administration advisors unanimously approved both vaccines, especially against coronavirus variants that are now widespread throughout the country, despite weak evidence of their efficacy.

Still, the data as a whole show that both vaccines protect at least children from serious illness, said Dr. Ofer Levy, director of the Boston Children’s Hospital Precision Vaccine Program and FDA advisor. rice field

“These vaccines are generally safe and effective,” he said. “This was an amazing achievement.”

Assuming the adviser supports the vaccine, CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky is expected to approve it. The White House states that the state has already taken millions of doses and is ready to provide shots to children as early as Tuesday.

However, while some parents want a vaccine, many others seem hesitant. The child may already have some protection from the infection, or there are still doubts about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.

Pfizer vaccines are available to children aged 5 to 11 years from November, but less than 30% of children in that age group have been vaccinated twice.

Vaccine acceptance depends in part on how clear the CDC recommendations are. Although the FDA has approved the use of the vaccine, doctors have confirmed the details of how to use the vaccine with the CDC’s advisory board.

This time, the advice can be complicated, as the two vaccines differ in almost every respect.

For infants receiving the Moderna vaccine, the FDA has approved two doses of 25 micrograms, one-quarter of the dose used by adults, at 4-week intervals.

However, two doses of the Pfizer vaccine (only 3 micrograms each, or one-tenth the adult dose) create strong immunity to the virus in infants, according to data presented to authorities on Wednesday. Was inadequate.

To be effective, you need to get the Pfizer vaccine three times. The first two doses are given at 3-week intervals and the third dose is given at least 2 months later.

This difference makes it difficult for parents and healthcare providers to choose between the two, Dr. Levy said. But “the challenge is that they are not directly compared.”

Scientists from both companies will present evidence in favor of vaccines for infants on Friday. Advisors have the opportunity to ask questions and express concerns before making recommendations on Saturday.

An FDA adviser on Tuesday also approved the use of Moderna’s vaccine for children over the age of six, but the CDC committee has postponed that discussion so far.

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