FDA to review COVID-19 shots for children, boosters this month

FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) panel will hold a meeting on Oct. 14 to discuss a booster dose of Moderna vaccine, and Johnson & Johnson on Oct. 15.

 Health worker prepares a Covid-19 vaccine at a temporary Clalit health care center in Jerusalem, September 30, 2021.  (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
Health worker prepares a Covid-19 vaccine at a temporary Clalit health care center in Jerusalem, September 30, 2021.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

An advisory panel of experts to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will hold meetings this month to review data on Pfizer Inc's COVID-19 vaccine in young children and will decide whether to clear booster doses of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson's vaccines.

The FDA's announcement on Friday comes as health authorities seek to mitigate a potential surge of cases this fall, with schools already open nationwide.

FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) panel will hold a meeting on Oct. 14 to discuss a booster dose of Moderna vaccine, and Johnson & Johnson on Oct. 15.

Vials with a sticker reading, ''COVID-19 / Coronavirus vaccine/ Injection only'' and a medical syringe are seen in front of a displayed Johnson & Johnson logo in this illustration taken October 31, 2020. (credit: DADO RUVIC/REUTERS)Vials with a sticker reading, ''COVID-19 / Coronavirus vaccine/ Injection only'' and a medical syringe are seen in front of a displayed Johnson & Johnson logo in this illustration taken October 31, 2020. (credit: DADO RUVIC/REUTERS)

VRBPAC will discuss authorizing Pfizer Inc's COVID-19 vaccine for children aged five through 11 on Oct. 26, the FDA said.

Last month, the agency authorized a booster dose of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine for older adults and some Americans at high-risk of illness.

About 4 million Americans had received a booster dose as of Thursday, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The panel will also review data on receiving a booster dose of a different vaccine than the one used in the original vaccine series, called "mix and match" boosters.

Reuters reported in June that infectious disease experts were weighing the need for booster shots of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna's mRNA-based vaccines for Americans who received the J&J one-dose vaccine due to the prevalence of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

Separately, the FDA does not plan to extend the shelf life of hundreds of thousands of J&J vaccine doses beyond the current recommendation of six months from the manufacturer, NBC News reported, citing an internal email.

The FDA and J&J did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for comment.