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Local pediatric doctors emphasize importance of Moderna's application to FDA for vaccine for younger children

Moderna seeks authorization for COVID vaccines for children under 5 02:24

NEW YORK -- Right now, only children ages 5 and older can get the COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S.

But that could soon change.

On Thursday, Moderna submitted a request to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization for the two low-dose shots for younger kids and babies.

CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis spoke to a Long Island family involved in the clinical trial.

"We're trying to do everything we can to prevent him from getting very ill," Barry Diener said.

That's ultimately why Diener and his wife enrolled their 3-year-old son, Hudson, into Moderna's COVID vaccine clinical trial through Stony Brook Medicine, where Diener is a pediatric pulmonologist.

It wasn't an easy decision, but, "Vaccines work really well in adults and in the end, we're gonna get them vaccinated either way, so why not try to get into a trial where we have the opportunity to kind of get it done sooner?" Diener said.

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Hudson got his second shot in November, with no side effects. But the family is still waiting to learn if it was the vaccine or a placebo.

"We're glad we did it for two reasons. First off, we're hopinghe did get the vaccine. But also, it really allows this vaccine to get the approval that it needs," Diener said.

Moderna's submission for FDA approval includes data from the most recent phase of its trials, primarily conducted during the Omicron wave, which found that two vaccine doses have an efficacy rate of 51 percent for children 6 months to under 2 years old, and 37 percent for those 2 years old to under 6.

Modera says these estimates are similar to those among adults against Omicron.

"People can be reassured and confident that these kids will get safely protected against disease," said Dr. Paul Burton, Moderna's chief medical officer.

FLASHBACKFDA Delays Meeting On COVID-19 Vaccine For Children Under 5 To Review More Data

This comes as vaccination rates for children remain low. Centers for Disease Control data shows fewer than 30 percent of kids ages 5 to 11 have received two doses.

"We're seeing disturbing numbers of long-haul COVID in the school age children and in teenagers," said Dr. Sharon Nachman, chief of the division of pediatric infectious diseases at Stony Brook Children's Hospital.

Nachman says they are seeing it in unvaccinated kids, which is why prevention is so important.

"If you had a child in this age group, under 6, would you give them this vaccine?" DeAngelis asked.

"Absolutely, yes. I think it is very well studied. I think the data will support the approval," Nachman said.

Both doctors DeAngelis spoke to say if you are hesitant, speak to your child's pediatrician, who can answer your questions with accurate information.

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