Science

Moderna Starts Covid-19 Vaccine Trial In Kids Younger Than 12 Years Old

Topline

Biotech company Moderna announced today that it has given the first doses of its mRNA Covid-19 vaccine to young children as part of a new study to test how effective the vaccine is in kids.

Key Facts

Called the KidCOVE study, it will be conducted in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health, and will test the vaccine on 6,750 kids ages 6 months to 11 years old.

The study is an “age de-escalation” study, meaning that older children will get the vaccine first, and as it is shown to be safe it will be given to progressively younger kids.

It is also a “dose escalation” study, meaning that the researchers will start with smaller doses of the vaccine, and work up to normal adult doses once the low doses are proven to be safe.

A spokesperson from Moderna says the trial is still enrolling participants from throughout the U.S. and Canada.

In December, Moderna began  clinical trials of its Covid-19 vaccine in adolescents aged 12-17 years old; data from that trial is expected this spring.

Key Background

A Covid-19 vaccine for children and teens would allow schools to reopen quickly and safely in the fall. Most parents and kids are still more worried about getting Covid-19 than attending in-person classes, but there have been many reports of students having problems with online learning over the past year of the pandemic. Children don’t often get severe symptoms of Covid-19, though some have been hospitalized and even died from the disease. A vaccine for children would also help contain outbreaks, since research has shown that children can pass the virus to teachers and family members.

Tangent

Covid-19 vaccine competitor Pfizer announced last month that it had begun a trial of its Covid-19 vaccine in adolescents aged 12-15 (the vaccine is already approved for teens aged 16 and up), but the company hasn’t said anything yet about dosing younger children. 

Crucial Quote 

“We project that high school students will very likely be able to be vaccinated… in the early part of the fall,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, whose team has worked closely with Moderna throughout the development of the vaccine, on CBS last week. “Elementary school kids…they likely will be able to get vaccinated by the very first quarter of 2022.

Big Number

227. That’s how many children have died from Covid-19 in the United States, according to the New York Times. 

Further Reading

Covid Vaccines for Kids Are Coming, but Not for Many Months (New York Times)

Fauci: Vaccines for Kids as Young as First Graders Could Be Authorized by September (ProPublica)

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