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Moderna has begun testing its COVID-19 vaccine in children between the ages of 6 months and 12 years.
The biotech company — whose vaccine was authorized for emergency use among adults in the U.S. back in December — dosed the first adolescents involved in a new trial (called the KidCOVE study) this week, Moderna said in a press release. The company plans to enroll about 6,750 kids in the study.
"We are pleased to begin this Phase 2/3 study of mRNA-1273 in healthy children in the U.S. and Canada and we thank NIAID and BARDA for their collaboration," said Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, in a statement. "It is humbling to know that 17.8 million adults in the U.S. have received the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine to date."
"We are encouraged by the primary analysis of the Phase 3 COVE study of mRNA-1273 in adults ages 18 and above and this pediatric study will help us assess the potential safety and immunogenicity of our COVID-19 vaccine candidate in this important younger age population," added Bancel.
The trial will "evaluate the safety, tolerability, reactogenicity and effectiveness of two doses of mRNA-1273 given 28 days apart," Moderna explained.
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As of Tuesday morning, March 16, at least 71,054,445 adults in the U.S. have received at least one dose of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines, according to the CDC. Of that, 38,335,432 people have gotten both doses and are fully vaccinated.
Last month, Dr. Anthony Fauci said on NBC's Meet the Press that elementary-aged kids will likely be eligible for the vaccine early next year.
"If you project realistically," said Fauci at the time, "when we will be able to get enough data to be able to say that elementary school children will be able to be vaccinated, I would think that would be, at the earliest, the end of the year, and very likely the first quarter of 2022."
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