FRIDAY, June 24, 2022 (HealthDay News) — U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky, M.D., on Friday signed off on the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 6 through 17 years. It is the final step to making the shots available to this age group. The two-dose Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has already gained approval for use in older children.

“Vaccinating this age group can provide greater confidence to families that their children and adolescents participating in child care, school, and other activities will have less risk for serious COVID-19 illness,” Walensky said in an agency news release. Her announcement came a day after an expert CDC panel voted unanimously to recommend use of the Moderna vaccine in children aged 6 to 17 years.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) endorsed the shots after hearing the latest evidence on the vaccine’s effectiveness, along with safety data on myocarditis that is sometimes seen after vaccination with the mRNA vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer.

“There is a risk of myocarditis/pericarditis after both messenger RNA COVID-19 vaccines, [but] most cases have prompt improvement in symptoms. A follow-up survey suggests most fully recovered from myocarditis,” Helen Keipp Talbot, M.D., an associate professor of medicine from Vanderbilt University, said during the panel’s discussion of the vaccine. She added that myocarditis after vaccination has been generally mild compared with those who developed the condition after getting sick with COVID-19, CNN reported.

Overall, company data showed that most children got the vaccine without incident. “In general, most adverse events reported after COVID vaccines are mild and transient events like injection site and systemic reactions,” said Tom Shimabukuro, M.D., deputy director of the H1N1 Vaccine Task Force at the CDC, CNN reported. “We will continue to monitor the safety of these vaccines and we will continue to work with partners, both within the federal government and with health care providers and provider organizations to better understand these types of adverse events.”

This CDC panel’s vote follows the CDC approval last Saturday of both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for children younger than 5 years.

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