The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced children six months of age and older are eligible to receive an updated COVID-19 vaccine as of today.
The FDA amended the emergency use authorization (EUA) of the updated (bivalent) Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to include use in children as young as six months old.
“More children now have the opportunity to update their protection against COVID-19 with a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine, and we encourage parents and caregivers of those eligible to consider doing so – especially as we head into the holidays and winter months where more time will be spent indoors,” said FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D. “As this virus has changed, and immunity from previous COVID-19 vaccination wanes, the more people who keep up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations, the more benefit there will be for individuals, families and public health by helping prevent severe illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths.”
Today, we amended the emergency use authorizations (EUAs) of the updated (bivalent) Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to include use in children down to 6 months of age. https://t.co/dHHwGFJ7fW pic.twitter.com/z4zZNwZZZ0
— U.S. FDA (@US_FDA) December 8, 2022
Children six months to 4 years of age who previously received the original monovalent Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine may receive the updated bivalent Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech version two months after initial vaccination. Children who have completed the three-dose primary series with the original monovalent vaccines will not be eligible for a bivalent dose at this time.
Side effects of the bivalent vaccine are reportedly similar to their original monovalent counterpart. Myocarditis and pericarditis along with other potential side effects will be listed on the bivalent vaccine’s fact sheet for recipients and caregivers.
“Vaccines remain the best defense against the most devastating consequences of disease caused by the currently circulating omicron variant, such as hospitalization and death. Based on available data, the updated, bivalent vaccines are expected to provide increased protection against COVID-19,” said Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “Parents and caregivers can be assured that the FDA has taken a great deal of care in our review, and we encourage parents of children of any age who are eligible for primary vaccination or a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine booster dose to consider seeking vaccination now as it can potentially help protect them from COVID-19 during a time when cases are increasing.”
The FDA reportedly relied on immune response data that it had previously evaluated from a clinical study in adults of a booster dose of Moderna’s investigational bivalent COVID-19 vaccine that contained a component corresponding to the original strain of SARS-CoV-2 and a component corresponding to the omicron lineage BA.1.
Moreover, the FDA
conducted an analysis of data from a clinical study that compared the immune response among 56 study participants 17 months through 5 years of age who received a single booster dose of monovalent Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine at least six months after completion of a two-dose primary series of the vaccine to the immune response among approximately 300 study participants 18 through 25 years of age who had received a two-dose primary series of monovalent Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine in a previous study which determined the vaccine to be effective in preventing COVID-19.
Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine in children 6 months through 4 years of age is supported by the FDA’s previous analyses of the effectiveness of primary vaccination with the monovalent Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine in individuals 16 years of age and older and individuals 6 months through 4 years of age, and previous analyses of immune response data in adults greater than 55 years of age who had received a two-dose primary series and one booster dose with the monovalent Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine and a second booster dose with the investigational Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent COVID-19 vaccine (original and omicron BA.1).