The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized use of the COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and BioNTech, and from Moderna, for kids between six months and five years of age. The FDA’s decision follows a lengthy review process, and the dosage for children under five is greatly reduced relative to those for older children and adults.
While Pfizer’s vaccine was previously authorized in the U.S. for people five and up, Moderna’s inoculation was limited to those aged 18 or above. The new authorization clears use of Moderna for children aged six months to 17 years.
This isn’t the final step before inoculation programs begin for the new age groups: The Centers for Disease Control will offer additional guidance and a recommendation, which is a step not strictly required, but usually followed, by doctors and pharmacists who perform the inoculations. Still, vaccinations for those under five in the U.S. could begin rolling out as soon as Monday.
The FDA’s decision is based on tests of more than 4,526 volunteer participants, while Moderna’s is based on a study involving over 6,300 children.