Moderna has given the first doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to children under the age of 12 — including babies as young as 6 months, the pharmaceutical company announced Tuesday.
The study is slated to enroll 6,750 healthy kids in the US and Canada and is the latest effort to include children in the global vaccination campaign.
Most of the US COVID-19 vaccination effort so far has focused on inoculating adults, who are at a higher risk of developing severe disease or dying from the virus.
Among the three COVID-19 vaccines currently approved for use nationwide, Moderna’s and Johnson & Johnson’s jabs are only authorized for use in adults 18 and older, while Pfizer’s shot can be administered to people 16 and older.
The US has currently vaccinated nearly 12 percent of the adult population.
However, kids can still contract and transmit the virus, and achieving full herd immunity depends on their vaccination, too.
The study is slated to test the vaccine on 6,750 healthy kids in the US and Canada.Gabrielle Lurie/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images
Moderna and Pfizer began testing their vaccines on children as young as 12 at the end of last year.
At the time, Dr. Anthony Fauci said it would still be “months” before there was enough data from those clinical trials — as well as information about the vaccine’s “degree of efficacy and safety” in the adult population — to begin vaccinating children.
Fauci then projected earlier this month that high school students will be able to get vaccinated “by the fall term” while elementary school students might not receive doses until the “first quarter of 2022,” CBS reported.
Moderna and Pfizer began testing their vaccines on children as young as 12 at the end of last year. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
Moderna’s upcoming combined Phase 2 and Phase 3 trial includes two parts, and each child enrolled will receive two shots 28 days apart, according to the company.
In the first part of the trial, children will be given different dose levels of the vaccine in order to determine how much to use in the second part of the study.
Two doses of 50 or 100 micrograms will be administered to children ages 2 to 12, and two shots of 25, 50 or 100 micrograms will be doled out to children under age 2. The first children inoculated will receive the lowest doses, the vaccine maker said.
Kids can still contract and transmit the virus, and achieving full herd immunity depends on their vaccination.Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
After researchers analyze which dose is safest and most effective for each age group, they will commence part two of the trial, where some children will receive doses of the vaccine and others will get placebo shots of saltwater.
Moderna has not yet issued a timeline for this trial.