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COVID Vaccine: Moderna Begins Testing Shot For Children And Infants

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The COVID vaccines have now been given to millions of Americans with one big exception - children.

The Moderna is authorized for use in people 18 and older. For Pfizer, it's 16 and older.

Now Moderna is testing its vaccine in younger children, including - as of Tuesday - kids from six months and older.

As CBS2's Dr. Max reported, Blair Davis celebrated her 15th birthday Tuesday, and to celebrate, she and her her younger sister Dylan climbed into the car to head to a clinic to get a COVID swab. The Davis sisters are part of the Moderna adolescent vaccine trials.

They got their second shots, although it could be a placebo.

Moderna covid vaccine for children
Moderna is testing its vaccine in children as young as six months old. (CBS2)

"I think it was the placebo," Blair said.

"We're like pushing for a fever, we're pushing for body aches," their mother, Mendy Jeter, said. "[Because] they're getting a response. We're looking for a response."

Doctors Garvin Davis and Mendy Jeter are the girls' parents.

"To get them protected was really important for us," Davis said.

"It would protect us, it would protect their grandparents and anyone else," Jeter added.

But for this family, it's not just about protecting themselves from COVID.

"I wanted them to be an example and to set an example to say, 'Hey, this vaccine is safe,'" said Jeter. "We actually as doctors trust our children getting this shot."


It's important to test these vaccines in children because their immune systems may not respond the same as adults, both for effectiveness and adverse reactions. The Moderna trial will recruit about 3,500 young children at 30 sites around the country including Mt. Sinai and Columbia in the Tri-State Area. The first part of the trial will test three different strength vaccine doses in young children and two different strengths in adolescents.

That child trial is expected to be complete by June of this year. The trial of 3,000 adolescents is fully enrolled but will not be complete until June of next year.

Watch Dr. Max Gomez's report -- 

"After we establish a dose, then a larger number of children will receive the vaccine to find out the safety and is it generating protective antibody responses," said Dr. Lorry Rubin, director of pediatric infectious diseases at Cohen Children's Medical Center on Long Island.

"What could that mean for ending the pandemic and getting to the end of the pandemic?" CBS2's Ali Bauman asked Rubin.

"Although many children don't get severely sick, they can still get the infection and spread the infection," he said.

Pfizer also has a fully enrolled trial in adolescents.

All the vaccines that have so far been authorized here have proven extraordinarily safe and effective. That's why the FDA gave the go-ahead for the pediatric trials.

With one fourth of the U.S. population under age 21, ending the pandemic will depend on getting children, as well as adults, vaccinated.


Also promising for parents, a Florida health care worker who received her initial dose of the Moderna vaccine while pregnant just gave birth to a baby with COVID antibodies. It's the first known case.

Meanwhile, Tuesday night, former president Donald Trump, who has been vaccinated, went on FOX News urging people to get the shot.

"I would recommend it to a lot of people that don't wanna get it, and a lot of those people voted for me, frankly," Trump said.

Earlier, Dr. Another Fauci dispelled some of the far-fetched vaccine myths.

"Neither I, and I believe I can speak for Bill Gates, have put a chip into the virus when it gets injected into you," he said.

Overseas, the European Medicines Agency is urging vaccinations should continue after 16 European nations  halted the use of the Oxford AstraZeneca shot amid reports of blood clotting.

AstraZeneca says a review of 17 million people who received the vaccine found fewer than 40 developed blood clots.

"The evidence is still very strong that if you want to live, the best thing you can do is have the vaccine," said Paul Hunter, a professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia.

The Oxford vaccine is expected to be rolled out in the U.S. in the coming weeks, pending FDA approval.

CBS2's Ali Bauman contributed to this report.


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