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FDA recommends Pfizer, Moderna vaccines for children under 5

FDA meeting on COVID vaccines for children under 5
FDA meeting on COVID vaccines for children under 5 02:06

WASHINGTON -- A Food and Drug Administration panel has recommended both Moderna and Pfizer's vaccines for young children.

That may be welcome news to some parents, because, as CBS2's Natalie Brand reports, children 5 and under are currently the only group in the U.S. that remains ineligible to get vaccinated.

Infants and young children are a step closer to getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

"It's a population that has been much less affected than older populations, particularly the oldest population, but one nonetheless has also been affected," Dr. Peter Marks said.

The Centers for Disease Control says more than 440 children ages 4 and under have died from COVID during the pandemic, and hospitalizations among that age group have risen during the Omicron surge.

"We have to be careful that we do not become numb to the number of pediatric deaths because of the overwhelming number of older deaths," Marks said.

READ MOREFDA restricts Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine due to blood clot risk

Pfizer says its three-shot series is 80 percent effective in preventing symptomatic infections in young children.

"A third dose is necessary to provide high protection against Omicron," Senior VP Dr. William Gruber said.

Two doses of Moderna appeared strong enough to prevent severe infections, but only 40 percent to 50 percent percent effective at preventing mild infections. The drug maker has added a booster to its study.

"You can call it a primary series. You can call it a booster dose. I think all of us agree that these children are going to need a third dose," Dr. Jacqueline Miller said.

READ MORELocal pediatric doctors emphasize importance of Moderna's application to FDA for vaccine for younger children

Moderna's vaccine for this age group is a quarter of its adult dosage. Pfizer's is just one-tenth. The FDA says both were well tolerated and side effects were minor.

The CDC still has to weigh in. If the vaccines get the final approval, they would likely become available early next week.

It's unclear how much demand there is for this youngest age group. Only 29 percent of children under 12 have been vaccinated since they became eligible for Pfizer's shot in November.

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