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WASHINGTON – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Friday announced it was endorsing a panel’s recommendation that Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine be made available to children and teenagers ages 6-17.

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The endorsement allows the U.S. government to begin rolling out Moderna’s vaccine for children and teenagers.

The CDC had previously approved Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in children 6 months through 5 years, and adults 18 and older.

“It is critical that we protect our children and teens from the complications of severe COVID-19 disease,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement. “Today, we have expanded the options available to families by recommending a second safe and effective vaccine for children ages 6 through 17 years. Vaccinating this age group can provide greater confidence to families that their children and adolescents participating in childcare, school, and other activities will have less risk for serious COVID-19 illness.”

There are currently two COVID-19 vaccine options available to children under age 18. Pfizer-BioNTech has a three dose series approved for children 6 months-4 years old, as well as a two dose series approved for children 5-17 years old. Moderna’s vaccine is a two dose series regardless of age.

Moderna’s vaccine was found to be 93% effective in children 12-17 years old during testing when the original coronavirus strain and the Alpha variant were predominant, and 77% effective in children 6-11 when the delta variant was predominant, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Check back for more on this developing story.