Tuesday, February 20

Pfizer COVID vaccine clears Japan panel for use with young children

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TOKYO — A Japanese health ministry panel on Wednesday recommended approving Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine for children as young as six months old.

Japan in January expanded use of the vaccine to those as young as five years old. Last month, health authorities started to dispense Pfizer and Moderna Inc booster shots that target the Omicron variant of the virus.

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The panel also recommended approval of a version of the Pfizer vaccine that protects against the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of Omicron. Moderna said earlier on Wednesday it was seeking Japanese approval of its own subvariant shot. (Reporting by Rocky Swift and Kantaro Komiya, Editing by Louise Heavens)