The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has authorized Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 6 to 11 to provide protection against COVID-19 for children across Europe.
It has also recommended booster shots of Pfizer’s vaccine for those 12 and older.
COVID-19 cases and deaths across much of Europe have dropped significantly in recent weeks, after peaking in late January. But numbers are still rising in some places with lower vaccination rates, including Russia and Turkey.
The EU regulator’s vaccines chief Dr Marco Cavaleri said the Moderna vaccine for younger children will be a half-dose of what is given to older teens and adults.
Dr Cavaleri said the Moderna shot was also being recommended for use as a booster dose in people who had received other vaccines. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was granted a green light for use in children ages 5 and older in November.
Dr Cavaleri said data from countries including Israel and the US in more than 400,000 children showed that a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in children 12 was safe and effective.
Research has also showed young children had an immune response comparable to that seen in older populations “as measured by the level of neutralizing antibodies” against the coronavirus.
Dr Cavaleri said while some European countries have started offering their older populations a second booster dose based on concerns their immunity may fade quicker, the EMA has made no such recommendation.
“At this stage, there is not enough evidence to establish the need for a second booster dose in the general population,” he said