Moderna shares data on its COVID vaccine in younger children

Posted at 4:50 PM, Mar 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-23 17:07:01-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Many parents have been waiting for a while for their younger kids to have access to the COVID vaccine, but that time for them to roll up their sleeves may be getting closer. Moderna announced on Wednesday data from a study of its COVID vaccine in children six months to under six years old.

“All of the adults have been vaccinated, boosted that are around our family, but we have just been kind of waiting on pins and needles for when we can finally get our youngest daughter vaccinated,” said Kimberly Pullen. “Once I think we can do that, we’ll have a little bit more sense of maybe now we can take a breath.”

Pullen has a two-year-old daughter, who’s been waiting like many other young children to have access to a COVID vaccine.

“At this point, she’s one of the most vulnerable people in our household,” said Pullen. “It’s kind of a daily thing that’s on our minds to make sure our school-aged child is washing her hands, changing her clothes, not exposing her sister who has no protection at this point.”

There’s hope on the horizon for parents of younger kids during this pandemic. On Wednesday, Moderna shared data for its COVID vaccine in children six months to under six years old.

“They said that there’s no safety issues, and that really the vaccine behaved in the kids from six months to six years of age the same way that it did in the older age group from 18 to 25,” said Dr. Michael Teng, an Associate Professor at USF Health.

The company said most side effects were mild or moderate. This vaccine in children is a quarter of the dose used for adults. Dr. Teng explained how the immune response looked too.

“They were giving this vaccine during the omicron surge, and the vaccine, as you would expect from the adult data as well, is not that effective against omicron, so in the range of about 40 percent,” said Teng.

Last month, the FDA postponed a review of Pfizer’s vaccine for kids under five. Teng also explained why it’s still important to get this group vaccinated at this point in the pandemic.

“We don’t know what the pandemic is going to do,” said Teng. “It’s sort of defied expectations, but it’s pretty clear that as long as we don’t have good population immunity across the globe, there are going to be pockets of unvaccinated, non-immune people who can transmit the virus, and those are the populations where new variants may arise.”

Moderna said it will submit a request for authorization for children six months to under six years old to the FDA in the coming weeks. Until then, parents like Pullen will keep on waiting.

“The first day, weekend, appointment we can get, we will be one of the first in line,” said Pullen.