Moderna Asks FDA To Approve COVID Vaccine — You Know, For Kids
At long last, parents of very young kids may soon be able to get their little darlings vaccinated against COVID-19. Moderna today submitted an application to the Food and Drug Administration to authorize its vaccine for use in young children aged 6 months through five years, citing clinical trials showing the vaccine is effective in preventing serious illness in that age group. The FDA is expected to make a final decision on whether to authorize the vaccine for little kids by June.
As of right now, children under 5 are the only age group in the US who aren't yet authorized to get vaccines. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is available for all ages 5 and up, but the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines are only approved for folks 18 and up.
NBC News reports that the Moderna vax for kids will be two 25-microgram doses given four weeks apart; that's a quarter of the adult dose.
Unlike the adult vaccines, clinical trials of the child dosage found that it isn't especially effective at preventing infection with the coronavirus, but Moderna is pursuing approval because it does prevent serious illness.
Moderna chief medical officer Dr. Paul Burton told NBC News that the lower efficacy against infection was due to the extremely contagious omicron variant, which has dealt a blow to the effectiveness of the current vaccines for other age groups as well.
Still, the two-dose vaccine for young children provides a “good level of protection” and “can protect these kids,” Burton said.
The vaccine will be a huge relief for parents, since one of the scarier things about Omicron is that when it was surging earlier this year, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that kiddos under 5 were hospitalized roughly five times as often as they had been during the earlier Delta variant wave of 2021.
The Omicron wave got a lot of kids and teenagers sick, too, NBC News notes:
The CDC estimates that, by February, three-quarters of children and teens in the U.S. caught Covid at least once, though agency officials noted it remains unclear how long that protection from those previous infections will last or whether it's as robust as the protection provided by the vaccines.
But since the "natural" immunity resulting from previous infection varies widely from person to person, having a vaccine that provides more predictable protection from serious illness will be extremely valuable in keeping kids healthy.
Pfizer is also getting ready to try again for FDA authorization of its vaccine for kids under five; it had submitted an application for authorization of a two-dose vaccine earlier this year, but then withdrew the request because clinical trial data didn't show it was particularly effective, and the FDA asked for more testing with a three-dose regimen instead. NBC News notes that it's not clear yet whether the FDA would authorize the two companies' vaccines for tots "one at a time, or hold off and authorize both at the same time," which might reduce confusion and ensure supplies are available more widely.
A bit farther out, Moderna is also preparing to
seek authorization for a booster dose for the age group. The shot could be available in the fall, [Burton] said, and could be a so-called bivalent vaccine, which targets two strains of the coronavirus in a single shot.
Separately, Pfizer this week has submitted paperwork for authorization of booster shots for its vaccine for kids aged five to 11; currently, boosters are only available for ages 12 and up.
You know what would also be really good? If Republicans in Congress would recognize that the virus is still dangerous (it's still killing 376 people a day), and without a new funding package, there soon won't be any money for vaccines, testing, or treatment, to say nothing of developing and distributing new vaccines and treatments.
Maybe we could start a rumor that the virus is turning people gay. That might shake loose some funding.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.