FDA advisers to review COVID-19 shots for young kids, boosters this month

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FILE PHOTO: Vials labelled "COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine" and syringe are seen in front of displayed J&J logo in this illustration

(Reuters) - An advisory panel of experts to the U.S. drug regulator will hold meetings this month to review data on Pfizer Inc's COVID-19 vaccine in young children, and whether to clear booster doses of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson's vaccines.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration'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.

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, citing an internal email.

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

(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel and Shinjini Ganguli)

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