While polls have indicated about one-third of adults are skeptical of the experimental COVID-19 vaccines, Moderna announced it has given its first doses to children under age 12, including babies as young as 6 months.
The study is expected to enroll 6,750 healthy children in the United States and Canada, the New York Post reported.
Moderna is among three manufacturers with a vaccine approved for use in the U.S. However, Moderna’s and Johnson & Johnson’s are authorized only for adults 18 and older. Pfizer’s shot can be administered to people 16 and older.
The Post said Moderna has not issued a timeline for the trial.
The vaccines, through President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed, were developed and brought to market in just one year, while the normal process takes five to 10 years. On Monday, amid reports of dangerous blood clots in some recepients, Germany, France, Italy and Spain became the latest nations to suspend use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine.
White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci has said it would be “months” before enough data could be collected before allowing children to be vaccinated.
Fauci said more data needs to be collected from the trials.
But he also indicated the jury is still out on the safety of the vaccines for adults.
More information still is needed, he said, regarding the “degree of efficacy and safety” of the vaccines in the adult population to begin vaccinating children.
In an interview with CBS News “Face the Nation” earlier this month, Fauci estimated vaccination of high school students will begin during the fall term and elementary school students by the first quarter of 2022.
Fauci: Spread among children ‘not very big’
Last fall, as WND reported, Fauci said research shows there’s little spread of the virus by children.
“If you look at the data, the spread among children and from children is not very big at all, not like one would have suspected,” Fauci told ABC’s “This Week.” “So let’s try to get the kids back and try to mitigate the things that maintain and push the kind of community spread we are trying to avoid.”
An analysis of 57 studies published in December by Clinical Infectious Diseases found children are unlikely to be the source of COVID-19 household outbreaks and are less likely to be infected by another household member.
The finding has implications for vaccine distribution, said the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.
“If further research confirms the low likelihood of children as drivers of household COVID-19 transmission, vaccinating children first might not be an effective strategy for mitigating wider community spread,” the center said.
In February, an analysis published by PLOS Computational Biology found children and young people are less likely to catch COVID-19 and spread the virus to others compared to adults.
Moderna said Tuesday that in its upcoming combined Phase 2 and Phase 3 trial, each child will receive two shots 28 days apart.
In the first part of the trial, children will be given different dose levels to determine how much to use in the second part of the study.
Moderna said that after researchers analyze which dose is safest and most effective for each age group, they will begin part two of the trial.
Some children will receive doses of the vaccine and others will get placebo shots of saltwater.
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