Health Care — Vaccines for kids clears key hurdle

We have our first peek at Ryan Gosling in his role as Ken for the new Barbie movie set to come out next year. 

Today in health care, parents of kids under 5 are one step closer to a vaccine (likely available next week). And Anthony Fauci has COVID. 

Welcome to Overnight Health Care, where we’re following the latest moves on policy and news affecting your health. For The Hill, we’re Peter SullivanNathaniel Weixel and Joseph Choi. Someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here.

FDA advisers back COVID vax for kids 5 and under

Long-awaited COVID-19 shots for the youngest children are one step closer to being available after a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Wednesday recommended the agency grant emergency authorization to vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. 

  • The agency’s vaccine advisers Wednesday unanimously recommended the shots should be authorized.
  • Moderna’s vaccine is for children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years, and Pfizer’s is for kids 6 months to 4 years old.  

Next up: The FDA will need to follow the recommendation. 

Then an advisory panel for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet this weekend to issue its own recommendation. If the panel votes in the affirmative and the CDC director signs off, children could start to get vaccinated next week. 

Key difference: While the vaccines are largely interchangeable for adults, the pediatric versions are very different. The shots also haven’t been tested against each other, so there’s no way to tell parents if one is superior. 

Moderna’s two-dose mRNA vaccine is intended to be administered four weeks apart, and is one quarter the strength of an adult dose. Pfizer’s vaccine is three doses, spread much further apart. 

  • The FDA previously said the vaccines are safe and effective, though neither performed very well in preventing symptomatic infection, mainly against the omicron variant. 
  • Moderna found its vaccine was 51 percent effective in preventing symptomatic infection in children 6 months to 2 years old, and 37 percent effective in children 2 through 5. Pfizer was only about 28 percent effective.  

Read more here.

Fauci tests positive for COVID-19

Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious diseases expert, tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday but is experiencing “mild symptoms,” the National Institutes of Health said.   

“He is fully vaccinated and has been boosted twice,” the agency said. “He is currently experiencing mild symptoms. Dr. Fauci will isolate and continue to work from his home. He has not recently been in close contact with President Biden or other senior government officials.” 

Fauci has been the face of the government’s response to COVID-19 for more than two years and has previously…

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