(WXYZ) — Moderna says its COVID-19 vaccine produced a strong immune response in children under the age of 5. The company plans to seek emergency use authorization as soon as possible.
This is good news and I’m happy to share it. Moderna’s clinical trials involved 6,900 children between the ages of 6 months and five years. And just like adults, children were given two doses 28 days apart.
However, the dosing amount for our youngest group of kids is much smaller, just 25-micrograms per shot. But smaller does not mean less effective.
Interim results found that the lower dose produced a robust neutralizing antibody response. And the levels were very similar to the results Moderna saw in adult trials.
Now how well did the vaccine protect against infection? Moderna broke it down into two categories. For the kids between the ages of 2 through 5, vaccine efficacy was found to be 37.5%. And for the little ones aged 6 months up to 2 years, the efficacy was a little higher at 43.7%.
Now, this is obviously a much lower efficacy rate compared to when Moderna’s vaccines were first approved for adults. But as we all know, the virus has mutated and we’re now dealing with the omicron variant. However, Moderna is planning to study a booster shot in children 6 months and older, which would also target the omicron variant.
Moderna says that its vaccine was well-tolerated. And there were no new safety concerns. Most reactions were mild or moderate and typically followed the second dose. It was not surprising to see that some children developed a fever – a side effect that can also happen to adults. About 17% of the children under two years of age and 14.6 % of two to five-year-olds developed a fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Only a few children developed a fever higher than 104 Fahrenheit.
As for myocarditis and pericarditis – two types of heart inflammation - no cases were observed in the trials.
I do want to mention that there were breakthrough infections in the clinical trials. But they were all mild - none of the children developed severe illness.
I’m excited that Moderna is seeking emergency use authorization for the younger kids under the age of 5 - which also includes my two-year-old son. They’re the only group not yet able to get vaccinated against COVID. And I believe it’s important to protect all ages against a virus that is unpredictable and very contagious.
Additional Coronavirus information and resources:
View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.
See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.