Moderna Chief Says Getting Children Under Five COVID Vaccines Is One of Their ‘Highest Priorities’

by Megan Molseed
(Photo by: Camilo Erasso/Long Visual Press/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The chief medical officer of one of the leading drug companies, Moderna, has stated that getting COVID-19 vaccines to younger children is currently one of its highest priorities. The vaccine has been available for children six years and up for some time now. However, the company has stated they hope to be able to provide the same protections to children five years old and under by the summer months.

The Highlights

  • Moderna is prioritizing efforts to get vaccines out for children five years old and under.
  • The drug company hopes to achieve this in the next few months – summer at the latest.
  • To do this, Moderna hopes to seek emergency authorization of the vaccine for children in this age group.
  • Studies have shown that younger children do respond well to smaller doses of the current vaccine designed for adults and adolescents.

Getting Vaccines to Children Is Moderna’s Top Priority

Moderna is putting its focus into making sure young children can receive the vaccine by late spring to summer, the company’s chief medical officer says. On Thursday, the Moderna CMO, Paul Burton discussed these plans; noting that the goal is to make the vaccine available as soon as possible.

“It’s really one of our highest priorities,” Burton explains of Moderna’s plans. 

“We’re working around the clock,” Burton adds. “And our teams are on it all the time.”

Moderna Hopes To Gain Emergency Authorization After Data Shows Small Dose Of Vaccine Is Safe For Young Children

The company hopes to get emergency authorization to provide children younger than six with the vaccine. This move comes after data noting that kids in this age group had immune responses similar to that of young adults and adolescents who were provided with a smaller dose of the medication.

The trial included 6,900. It was designed to monitor the safety and immune response kids have to the vaccine. The study, however, did not measure the effectiveness of the vaccine when given to this age group. According to reports, this study did not bring to light any new side effects or safety issues regarding the vaccine.

Looking At the Vaccine’s Effectiveness In Younger Children

Developing the vaccine for this younger generation is a big move for Moderna. However, the company has said that the vaccine is only about 44% effective in children 6 months to 2 years old. Furthermore, the vaccine is only 37% effective in children ages 2 years to 5 years old.

But, Burton notes, these lower percentages shouldn’t be a factor when deciding to vaccinate. The Moderna CMO says that the antibody levels in the dose are still high enough to fight off the COVID-19 infection.