FDA advisers unanimously recommend approval for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 6 to 17 years; new guidelines lower the recommended minimum age for starting gender transitioning treatments; the World Health Organization (WHO) will decide next week whether monkeypox is a global public health emergency.
An independent advisory panel unanimously recommended that the FDA approve the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 6 to 17 years, The Washington Post reported. However, despite unanimous support, some advisers were concerned by the limited and outdated data on the vaccine since the trials were conducted prior to the spread of the Omicron variant. Because of this, they suggested the vaccine may prevent serious illness, but may not be as effective at blocking mild infection. The FDA and CDC are expected to make a final decision this week. If approved, vaccines will become available next week. Moderna is also currently testing a booster vaccine for this age group and could seek FDA authorization as early as July.
The World Professional Association for Transgender Health lowered its recommended minimum age for starting gender transitioning treatments, The Associated Press reported. The minimum age for hormone treatment was lowered from 16 to 14 years, and certain surgeries can now be performed in individuals aged 15 years. According to the group, earlier treatment allows transgender teens to experience puberty around the same time as their peers, and age is just one factor to considera for gender-affirming treatments. Other factors include emotional maturity, parental consent, longstanding gender discomfort, and careful psychological evaluation. The group also said, based on growing evidence, earlier treatment may improve teens’ psychological well-being and reduce suicidal behavior.
The World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Committee will meet next week to decide whether the global monkeypox outbreak is a global public health emergency, as reported by Politico. This announcement follows news of more than 1600 confirmed cases and 1500 additional suspected cases of monkeypox in at least 39 countries, including at least 65 cases in the United States. Until a final decision is made, wealthy countries have put in orders for Bavarian Nordic’s Jynneos vaccine, which is approved for smallpox and monkeypox in the United States and Canada. The WHO also announced it is discussing a name change for monkeypox to reduce the stigma and racism surrounding the virus.