DORAL, FL – Moderna could become the first pharmaceutical company to get approval for COVID shots aimed at children younger than 6.
On Thursday, it submitted data to the Food and Drug Administration hoping the organization clears low-dose shots for that population. Currently, only children ages 5 or older can be vaccinated in the U.S. with Pfizer’s vaccine.
“There is an important unmet medical need here with these youngest kids,” Dr. Paul Burton, Moderna’s chief medical officer, told The Associated Press.
According to Burton, the public will be offered two kid-size shots that have the ability to protect the littlest ones. However, he considers there’s a big chance they will need more doses.
Two kid doses, says Moderna, means about 40% to 50% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19, which is not the ideal effectiveness but a step forward, as per the AP’report.
About this, the FDA said Thursday in a statement, it will schedule a meeting to publicly debate Moderna’s evidence with its independent scientific advisers but that the company still must submit some additional data. Moderna expects to do so next week.
COVID shots for the youngest kids could also become available from Pfizer, since the company is soon expected to announce if three of its even smaller-dose shots could be used in them.
If the FDA gives green light for the vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would have to determine who needs them, whether if all tots or just those at higher risk from COVID-19.
While COVID-19 generally isn’t as dangerous in youngsters as adults, some do become severely ill or even die. Around 475 children younger than 5 have died from COVID-19 throughout the pandemic, according to the CDC.
It’s unclear how many parents plan to vaccinate their youngest kids, but it is known that less than a third of children ages 5 to 11 have had two vaccinations, and 58% of those are between ages 12 to 17.
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