Moderna vaccine trial data shows promising results in children

Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 4:13 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - New data from a Moderna trial looking at children from ages 12 to 17 shows promising results in preventing COVID-19 infections.

The trial utilized 3300 kids between the ages of 12 and 17.

Two thirds received a Moderna vaccine while the rest were given placebo. The preliminary results revealed the shot was 96 percent effective at preventing symptomatic covid.

“Effectively it’s very similar to the adult population,” Grier said. “What’s more excited is that it includes even mild cases of COVID. So we are seeing really good protection for anyone who has had to care for a sick child.”

Doctor Jennifer Grier is an assistant professor of immunology the University of South Carolina Greenville. She says there were just 12 cases of covid detected in the trial. She estimates only one of those came from those who received the vaccine.

She says initial data suggests the children have a much stronger response to the vaccine, which means they are getting even more protection from the shots than older age groups.

“Children sort of have this ability to respond to a huge variety of things,” Grier said. “As people age and get exposed to more things our immune systems tend to focus on those, because those are known threats and so we lose the ability to be as flexible as we were when we were younger.”

While children have been relatively unaffected by COVID-19 Grier says more transmissible variants may pose a bigger threat to the unvaccinated. She says, so far, the vaccines appear to be effective against those variants.

“The population under the age of 18 is a big part of our population,” Grier said. “We are not going to be able to reach herd immunity without getting at least some of those patients.”

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