The public received their first glimpse at how effective the Moderna vaccine potentially is at protecting children from COVID-19.
Clinical trial results showed the shot was 93% effective after the first dose and 100% effective two weeks after the second dose.
“This efficacy is really, you know, leaps and bounds above what we were expecting a year ago, and to see great efficacy after the first dose and even better after the second dose is fantastic,” said Dr. Allison Bartlett, a pediatrician at Comer Children’s Hospital.
Moderna released results from trials involving 3,700 children ages 12 to 17, two thirds of whom got the vaccine and one third a placebo, with minor side effects reported.
“It's the standard pain at the injection site, feeling kind of lousy and tired and having a fever and it doesn't look like it's any worse or more frequent or more common among these 12 to 17 year olds than it is in the older population,” Bartlett said.
With the U.S. Food & Drug Administration already allowing the Pfizer vaccine to go into arms of kids ages 12 and up, some wonder if a second emergency use authorization is necessary for the same age group.
“This is going to be an ongoing thing. We are going to have children who become old enough to get the vaccine, even when it's down to six months of age, and we may need to have booster doses in the future,” Bartlett said.
“This basically increases our ability to vaccinate more children, especially in those areas where kids are having problems getting vaccine,” said Dr. Tina Tan, a pediatric infectious disease physician at Lurie Children’s Hospital.
Tan said Lurie is one of the hospitals participating in COVID-19 vaccine trials for children, younger than age 12. “Maybe late fall, that’s when COVID-19 vaccines may be used in kids down to six years of age,” Tan said.
With many schools planning in-person learning in the fall, pediatricians are urging parents to make sure all kids’ immunizations are up to date.
“The CDC has relaxed the guidance for timing between vaccines so that you can get a COVID vaccine and your routine preventative vaccines at the same time,” Tan said.
Moderna is expected to take these results to the FDA in early June to ask to amend its emergency use authorization to include children ages 12 and older.