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A senior official of the European Medicines Agency said that it is expected that a decision will be made later next week whether to recommend that Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine be authorized for use in children. If approved, it will be the world’s first license to use this vaccine in children.
At a press conference on Thursday, Dr. Marco Cavaleri, head of vaccine strategy at the European Union’s drug regulator, said that its expert committee is currently evaluating Moderna’s application for expanding the use of its coronavirus vaccine to children aged 12 to 17.
“We expect the committee to reach a conclusion next weekend,” he said.
In January of this year, Moderna’s vaccine was approved for anyone 18 years of age and older in the 27 EU countries. It has also been licensed in countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States, but so far, its use has not been extended to children. To date, the vaccine produced by Pfizer-BioNTech is the only vaccine approved for use in children under the age of 18 in Europe and North America.
EMA said last week that there is a “possible link” between the vaccines produced by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech and very rare cases of chest and heart inflammation, mainly in young adult men. They said that the impact is mostly temporary, and the benefits of vaccination still far outweigh the risks of COVID-19.