What is the dosage of COVID vaccines authorized for children under 5? Difference between Pfizer and Moderna – NBC Chicago

US regulators on Friday authorized the first COVID-19 vaccines for infants and preschoolers, paving the way for vaccinations to begin next week if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends them this weekend, but when it comes to the vaccines themselves, there is a big difference.

On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration cleared injections from Moderna and Pfizer. This means that American children under the age of 5 – about 18 million young people – are eligible for vaccines, about a year and a half after the vaccines were first made available in the United States for adults, which have been the most hard hit during the pandemic.

The vaccines are intended for children from the age of 6 months.

Both brands use the same technology but there are differences.

Pfizer’s vaccine for children under 5 is one-tenth the adult dose. Three injections are required: the first two given three weeks apart and the last at least two months later.

Moderna is made up of two injections, each one a quarter of its adult dose, given about four weeks apart for children under 6 years old.

In a study of children aged 6 months to 5 years, two injections of Moderna – each representing a quarter of the usual dose – triggered high levels of anti-virus antibodies, the same amount proven to protect young adults. , the company said. There were no serious side effects and the injections triggered less fever than other routine vaccinations.

But the vaccine was found to be between about 40% and 50% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 during the trial. The company blamed the omicron variant’s ability to partially evade vaccine immunity, noting that unboosted adults also showed less efficacy against milder omicron infections. Although no children became seriously ill during the study, Moderna noted that high antibody levels are an indicator of protection against more serious illnesses – and the company will test a child booster dose.

Federal health officials said Sunday that Pfizer’s doses of COVID-19 vaccines for children appear to be safe and effective for children under age 5. Late last week, the FDA released a similar analysis of Moderna’s vaccines for children under 6.

The FDA said children who received Pfizer’s vaccines in testing developed high levels of anti-virus antibodies thought to protect them against the coronavirus. This is the basic threshold needed to obtain FDA clearance. But further testing revealed key differences, with stronger results for Pfizer.

There is still one more step before the shooting can begin.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends how to use vaccines and its vaccine advisers are expected to discuss vaccines for younger children on Friday and vote on Saturday. Final approval would come from CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

During a Senate hearing on Thursday, Walensky said his staff were working over the June 19 federal holiday weekend “because we understand the urgency of this for American parents.”

For weeks, the Biden administration has been preparing to roll out the vaccines. States, tribes, community health centers and pharmacies have pre-ordered millions of doses. The FDA’s emergency use authorization allows manufacturers to begin shipping vaccines across the country. Vaccinations could start as early as Monday or Tuesday.

The FDA has also licensed Moderna’s vaccine for school-aged children and adolescents. Pfizer injections were previously the only ones available for these ages.

Moderna then plans to study her shots for babies as young as 3 months old. Pfizer has not finalized plans for injections in young infants. A dozen countries, including China, already vaccinate children under 5.

While young children typically don’t get as sick from COVID-19 as older children and adults, their hospitalizations increased during the omicron wave and FDA advisers determined that the benefits of vaccination outweighed the benefits. minimal risks.

Walensky said pediatric deaths from COVID-19 are higher than what is typically seen from the flu each year.

“So I actually think we need to protect young children, as well as protect everyone with the vaccine and especially protect the elderly,” she said.

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