Second COVID-19 vaccine could soon be available for ages 12-to-18
Moderna announced today that its COVID-19 vaccine is 100% effective in children between the ages of 12 and 18.
The positive clinical trial results should be a big step towards the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) green lighting the vaccine for the adolescent demographic.
The FDA has already approved Pfizer’s version of the vaccine for anyone 12-years of age or older, and an independent panel of advisors to the CDC voted this month to recommend it for children aged between 12 and 15.
Pfizer is currently conducting clinical trials in toddlers as young as six-months-old, and plans to seek emergency use for its vaccine in children between two and 12-year-old in September.
The vaccines produced by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, meanwhile, are currently only available to those in the U.S. aged 18 and older.
While it is significantly more rare for children to develop serious complications from COVID-19, it can still happen, and kids currently make up around 22% of all new cases.
“There are really two big reasons why kids need to get the vaccine,” Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News chief medical correspondent told Good Morning America. “One of them is that it is possible that they could be infected and then unknowingly pass COVID-19 to someone with a serious or underlying, pre-existing medical condition.”
Overall, more than 3.7 million children have been diagnosed with COVID during the pandemic, resulting in around 300 deaths.
“Though it’s very uncommon and unlikely, it is still possible that children infected with COVID-19 could become seriously ill or worse. We have seen that,” Ashton said.
Thus far, the vaccines appear to be more effective in adolescents than adults, with Pfizer reporting 100% efficacy in children between the age of 12 and 15. This compared favorably to the 95% efficacy reported in adults.
Moderna had equally promising results in its clinical trials, with none of its 3,732 age 12 to less-than 18 participants contracting COVID, compared to four adolescents from its placebo group.
“We are encouraged that mRNA-1273 was highly effective at preventing COVID-19 in adolescents. It is particularly exciting to see that the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine can prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection,” Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a statement. “We remain committed to doing our part to help end the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Children, once able, will need to get two doses of the vaccine to achieve the most protection.
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