Researchers reported on Wednesday that the Moderna coronavirus vaccine elicits a strong immune response in children aged 6 to 11 years old. This is another signpost on what has become a long and torturous road to protecting young children against the virus, even as the number of reported cases is once again on the rise.
On Monday, Moderna submitted an application to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requesting authorisation to administer the vaccine on patients of this age range. However, even if authorisation is obtained, it is quite doubtful that the already low vaccination rates among young children would much improve.
Since November, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been offered for children aged 5 to 11, but as of this past Wednesday, only 28.7 percent of youngsters have gotten both doses of the vaccine. Because there is no coronavirus vaccination on the market for children younger than 5, parents are forced to depend on preventative measures with a lower degree of certainty.
Pfizer and BioNTech both applied for approval to use their vaccine in the youngest infants in February; however, they withdrew their applications when evidence revealed that two doses did not give sufficient protection against the Omicron strain.
The firms are placing their hopes in a third dosage to bolster the immune systems of youngsters, and the FDA is scheduled to analyse the data pertaining to this in the month of June.
She said that the procedure has been especially perplexing and unjust for the parents of the smallest children since their children still do not have access to a vaccination despite the fact that the epidemic has been going on for more than two years.
Since Moderna submitted its request to the F.D.A. for authorisation to administer its vaccine in teenagers aged 12 to 17, almost a full year has passed. The assessment of the vaccine manufactured by Moderna came to a standstill while the FDA approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for use in that age range in only three weeks.
The United States has had the greatest amount of delay in obtaining authorisation. During the summer of 2017, the drug authorities in Europe gave its blessing to Moderna’s vaccine for use in teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17, and they suggested that it be used in youngsters between the ages of 6 and 11.
The Moderna vaccine has also been given the green light for use in children aged 6 to 11 years old by regulatory bodies in Canada and Australia.
A little more than one in four of the 28 million children in the United States who are between the ages of 5 and 11 have received vaccinations against the coronavirus. The fact that the virus is recognised to provide a lower danger to youngsters may contribute, at least in part, to the hesitation of the children’s parents.
Despite this, he said that he had just provided treatment for a youngster who was hospitalised for Covid because to leukaemia. “Some children do have severe Covid, and some end up in the hospital,” he stated, adding that more than 1,500 children under the age of 18 had died as a result of the epidemic as of this point.
A positive indicator is that the children who got the vaccination developed antibody levels that were only slightly greater than those reported in young adults. The clinical tests were not conducted on a big enough scale to evaluate the vaccine’s potential to prevent life-threatening illness or death.
However, the researchers calculated that the vaccination had an effectiveness against infection of 88 percent, despite the fact that there were only a limited number of illnesses with the Delta variation among the subjects.
It seemed as if the injections only caused minimal adverse effects, such as discomfort at the injection site, headache, and weariness, and did so much less often than they did in adults. Approximately one day later, nearly half of the youngsters continued to suffer from fevers.
Because high fevers in very young children need intrusive testing in order to rule out serious bacterial infections, this side effect may become a problem for children less than 5 years old. According to Dr. Permar, these procedures are necessary in order to rule out dangerous bacterial infections.
The size of the experiment was insufficient to identify less common adverse effects, such as the cardiac issues that were seen in participants of other age groups. Young children seem to have a lower risk of developing so-called myocarditis as a result of vaccination with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine compared to teenagers or young adults.
During the experiment conducted by Moderna, the effectiveness of the vaccine was evaluated against the Delta variation. However, the researchers are currently evaluating how well it works against the Omicron variant. Against the Omicron form, each of the vaccinations has been shown to be less effective, and this holds true across all age groups.
According to the findings of researchers working independently, the Moderna vaccine elicits a robust immune response in children aged 7 to 11 and in teenagers, protecting them against the Omicron form of the coronavirus as well as other variants of the virus.
However, it seems that these antibodies decrease during time, just as they do in adults. According to Dr. Levy, “probably the performance of the vaccine, in terms of vaccine effectiveness, won’t be as great in real-world data.” Vaccine efficacy measures how well a vaccine prevents disease.