Moderna has begun its Covid -19 vaccine trials in children aged six months to less than 12 years, the company announced on Tuesday.
The mid-to-late stage study aims to assess the safety and effectiveness of two doses of its mRNA-1273 shot given 28 days apart and intends to enroll about 6,750 children as guinea pigs in the US and Canada.
Moderna did not give a timeline for the trial, but experts say the vaccines probably won’t be offered to children younger than 12 until early 2022
12-17 year olds, however could start getting their shots as early as this fall
Mail Online reports: A similar trial of the shot in children ages 12 to 17 is already underway and fully enrolled, as is one being conducted by Pfizer for children ages 12 and older.
Moderna’s and Pfizer’s trials go well, middle- and high school-aged children could get vaccinated by fall. With tests for younger children just beginning, they likely won’t get vaccinated until early next year.
But the question remains: is it worth the risks of side effects to vaccinate kids?
Fewer than three million children under 18 have been infected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and just 0.01 percent of those have been killed by the virus. And they are not significant ‘vectors’ of transmission.
Some experts say children should not be the focus of vaccine trials, considering the low risks that the virus poses to them.
So far, children don’t appear to be significant ‘vectors’ of the disease, but the more kids are in contact with their peers and teachers, the more potential there will be for viral spread among them.
Some debate has arisen among pediatricians and medical ethicists about how important it is to vaccinate kids against COVID-19 and whether it is being done for the right reasons.
‘Vaccines for polio, diphtheria and meningitis were all geared to eliminate the most dangerous diseases in children,’ Dr Michael Hefferon, an assistant professor in the pediatrics department at Queen’s University in Ontario, told the Chicago Tribune.
‘We now have almost the opposite,’ he said of COVID-19.
‘It’s a disease of adults, and the older you get the more sinister it is. Therefore children are less relevant.’
So far, 2.57 million children 17 or younger have had COVID-19 in the US, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data.
Kids aged four and younger account for just two percent of overall case in America, while children aged five to 17 account for fewer than 10 percent of infections.
According to the CDC, 294 children have died of COVID-19, accounting for less than 0.2 percent of fatalities.
Other experts argue that because children do get sick, transmit and die from coronavirus, it remains important to vaccinate them.