STORY: Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine shot could soon be available for those as young as 6 years old in the U.S.
Advisers to the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday unanimously backed the use of Moderna's shot for the country's youngest age bracket yet.
Around 77 million people in the U.S. have received at least two doses of Moderna's vaccine, which has long been available for those over 18.
However, if its approved, a significant spike in demand from this younger age group is unlikely.
Pfizer/BioNTech's vaccine was authorized for children aged 5 to 11 in October.
Approval for teenagers preceded that by months.
Yet according to data from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, only around 60% of 12- to 17-year olds, and 30% of those aged 5 to 11, are fully vaccinated in the United States.
The CDC echoed the FDA panel's recommendation to expand Moderna's vaccine availability on Tuesday.
There have long been concerns that Moderna's vaccine poses a higher risk of heart inflammation, primarily in younger males.
Some countries in Europe have limited its use for younger age groups, while the FDA had delayed its review of the shot to assess the risks.
But U.S. regulators on Tuesday suggested the findings were either inconsistent or not statistically significant, and could actually be due to chance.
A panel of outside experts are expected on Wednesday to consider the Moderna shot for those under 6, as well as BioNTech's vaccine for those under 5, and in both cases as young as 6 months.