Moderna for the middle children

Good news for kids hoping for jabs in arms (which used to sound like an oxymoron before this spring): Moderna has announced promising results for its trial in adolescent-aged children. In around 4,000 adolescents, the vaccine proved to be 94.1% effective in preventing disease. No cases in the vaccinated group were found two weeks after the second shot, while 4 cases were found in the unvaccinated control group. 

On Tuesday, May 25, Moderna showed in a clinical trial that its mRNA vaccine is safe and effective in people ages 12 to 17. The company will apply for FDA emergency use authorization in June. This follows the semi-recent authorization of the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine for the same age group, which happened at the end of March. 

While children tend to have less severe complications from COVID-19 on the whole, serious illness is still quite possible. And even though rates across the country are falling due to more widespread vaccination, it’s still important that kids get vaccinated as herd immunity is not quite in our grasp yet. 

The availability of another vaccine may help more people in this age group get protected; however, the rest of the world has nowhere near the access to vaccines that U.S. citizens over age 12 do right now. In April, health policy experts estimated that the United States might have an excess of up to 300,000 extra vaccines. 

That being said, adolescents should still get vaccinated if it is available to them. This problem isn’t the fault of citizens wanting to get protection; it’s about the failures of governments and systems to provide vaccine equity.

More vaccine reporting

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  • Vaccines aren’t enough: What Biden can do about Omicron
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  • Omicron variant: What we know, what we don’t, and why not to panic (yet)
    On Thanksgiving, my Twitter feed was dominated not by food photos, but by news of a novel coronavirus variant identified in South Africa earlier this week. While the variant—now called Omicron, or B.1.1.529—likely didn’t originate in South Africa, data from the country’s comprehensive surveillance system provided enough evidence to suggest that this variant could be more contagious than Delta, as well as potentially more able to evade human immune systems.
  • COVID source callout: CDC’s breakthrough case data
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  • Boosters for all adults: Why eligibility expanded, and what it means for you
    On Friday morning, the FDA authorized booster shots of Pfizer’s and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines for all adults in the U.S., six months after their first two doses. The CDC’s vaccine advisory committee voted to support this expanded booster eligibility that afternoon, and CDC leadership signed off on it a few hours later.

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