Moderna to begin testing coronavirus vaccine on children

Pfizer, the first company to produce a viable coronavirus vaccine, has already started testing to see its effects in teens and children.  

The clinical trials will enroll 3,000 volunteers between the ages of 12 and 18.  

The trials will be held in six states, according to a posting on clinicaltrials.gov. The states include Idaho, Minnesota, New York, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah.  

Federal officials said it is important that the vaccine is tested on children and teens prior to its widespread distribution in 2021.  

Both Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines are awaiting approval from the US Food and Drug Administration. The FDA is expected to meet on 10 December to discuss the drugs.  

If the vaccines are granted emergency approval, the first shots could be given as early as 21 December.  

UK health authorities approved the vaccine for use on Wednesday.  

Pfizer’s vaccine is said to be 95 per cent effective. Moderna’s is reported to be 94 per cent effective.  

Both shots require a second dose. For those who receive Pfizer’s shot, the second dose will be administered three weeks later. For those receiving Moderna’s shot, the second dose will come four weeks later.  

After health care workers and elderly individuals living in nursing homes receive the vaccine, the CDC recommends essential workers receive priority in getting the shot. That would include food and agricultural workers, law enforcement, educators, transportation workers and emergency response workers.  

Individual states will have the flexibility to determine if special groups of workers can be included in the essential worker category to receive priority access to the drug. The New York Times reported that Arkansas proposed including workers in large poultry farms in its essential worker category, and Colorado wants to include ski industry workers who often live in shared housing during the ski season.  

After that, immunocompromised adults and adults over the age of 65 will be prioritised. Some states might opt to vaccinate elderly people over the age of 75 before essential workers.  

Federal officials have indicated they plan to ship the first 6.4m doses of the vaccine 24 hours after the FDA approves the drugs.  

The general public is expected to have access to the vaccine by May or June of 2021.

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