US CDC advisers weigh Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for teens, older children

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Advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are meeting on Thursday to decide on the use of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine for children and adolescents aged 6 to 17, after months of delay in that age group due to safety concerns.

Should they vote to recommend its use, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky must then sign off for the US government to start rolling the Moderna vaccine out for these children and teens.

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The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, based on similar messenger RNA technology, has been available for teens for over a year and for children aged 5-11 since October.

The US Food and Drug Administration in November delayed a decision on Moderna's shot in the age group now under consideration on concerns that it could cause heart inflammation, particularly in younger men, at higher rates than the Pfizer vaccine.

The FDA authorized Moderna's vaccine just last week for the 6-11 age group, along with clearance for use in children aged 5 and under.

The agency last week said more recent US data showed that while there was a numerically higher risk of myocarditis or pericarditis with Moderna's shot, the findings were not statistically significant, meaning they might be due to chance.

Nearly 60 percent of US children and teens ages 12-17 years have been fully vaccinated so far, while the proportion of vaccinated children aged 5-11 years has been significantly lower at nearly 30 percent.

Read more: France facing new wave of COVID-19 infections: French vaccination chief

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