European Medicine Agency (EMA) has recommended booster shot of Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents aged 12 and over. It has also recommended expanded use of Moderna’s shot in children ages six to 11.
The moves come after several European Union (EU) countries already started to offer booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to teens.
The European Medicine Agency’s (EMA) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use recommendations will be followed by final decisions by the European Commission.
Moderna’s Spikevax COVID-19 shot is already approved for use in adults and children aged 12 and over in Europe. The Moderna vaccine is authorised as a primary two-dose regimen and booster dose for adults 18 years and older in the United States. The company has yet to win clearance for use in younger age groups.
Germany’s vaccine committee in January recommended all children between the ages of 12 and 17 receive a booster, following the initial two-shot course. Other nations in the region followed suit.
“Ten countries in the European Economic Area, which comprises the 27 EU member states plus Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway, had already recommended a booster dose for those under 18 years of age,” according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) report.
Member States’ decision on whether and when to offer boosters in this age group will need to take into account factors such as the spread and likely severity of the disease in younger persons and the known risk of side effects like the rare heart complication myocarditis, the EMA said.