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U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized COVID-19 vaccines Friday for children as young as 6 months old, clearing the path for the final regulatory approval needed before shots can be administered. 

The FDA's vote expands the agency's emergency use authorization for the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines to include children ages 6 months through 4 years. 

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention will make a final decision on the matter before shots can be administered. 

The newly eligible infants, toddlers and preschoolers could begin receiving shots as early as next week with a CDC vote set for Saturday, NBC News reports.

"As we have seen with older age groups, we expect that the vaccines for younger children will provide protection from the most severe outcomes of COVID-19, such as hospitalization and death,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert M. Califf said in a statement Friday. 

A three-dose primary regime will be given to the youngest children who receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, under the FDA's authorization. 

The first two doses are administered three weeks apart followed by a third dose given at least eight weeks following the second. 

The Moderna regime for the youngest children is the same as for older children — a two-dose series, given one month apart. Some immunocompromised children are recommended to receive a third dose one month later. 

The Pfizer dosage for children is one-tenth the dosage given to adults, NBC News reports. The Moderna doses for children are a quarter of the dosage given to adults. 

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