Moderna says its COVID vaccine is safe for kids under 18

moderna vaccine under 18
Photo via Navy Medicine/Flickr (Public Domain)

The U.S. may soon have another vaccine in its arsenal for inoculating adolescents, as Moderna announced encouraging trial results for its COVID-19 vaccine in those who are under 18.

In a May 25 press release, Moderna announced “that the Phase 2/3 study of its COVID-19 vaccine (mRNA-1273) in adolescents has met its primary immunogenicity endpoint, successfully bridging immune responses to the adult vaccination. In the study, no cases of COVID-19 were observed in participants who had received two doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine using the primary definition.”

Moderna also announced 93% efficacy in the same age group, putting it in a similar range to its efficacy for adult recipients.

The Washington Post reported that Moderna would submit those findings to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in early June, seeking approval for the vaccine to be used for adolescents. If the FDA approves it, Moderna would join Pfizer in vaccinating children as young as 12.

CNN added that “The company also reviewed how well the vaccine worked after just one dose. The results suggest the vaccine was 93% effective after one dose at preventing mild cases of COVID-19, involving only one symptom of coronavirus disease instead of two or more symptoms.”

That report noted that side effects included injection site pain, headache, fatigue, muscle pain, and chills after administration of the second dose, consistent with prior Moderna studies. Mostly, though, those who are under 18 tolerated the Moderna vaccine with nothing in the study raising significant safety concerns.

Both of the vaccines using mRNA technology are currently being testing by those drugmakers in younger children, ranging from 6 months to 11 years old, though approval for those younger age groups isn’t expected until the end of 2021.

“Vaccinating children is seen as crucial to ending the pandemic,” CNBC noted, adding that children make up around 20% of the total U.S. population. Experts say that anywhere from 70-85% of the U.S. population must be vaccinated for the nation to achieve herd immunity. With some adults resisting vaccination and not being swayed by public health official appeals encouraging inoculation, children could be the difference-maker.

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Sources: Moderna, Washington Post, CNN, CNBC

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