Moderna doesn’t expect Covid vaccine data for young children until 2022, CEO says

Business

A nurse prepares a syringe with the COVID-19 Moderna vaccine for a worker of the New York City Fire Department Bureau of Emergency Medical Services (FDNY EMS), amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in New York, December 23, 2020.

Carlo Allegri | Reuters

Moderna doesn’t expect to have clinical trial data on its coronavirus vaccine in young children until 2022, CEO Stephane Bancel said Monday.

Moderna’s vaccine has been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for use in people who are 18 years old and older. Clinical trial studies testing the vaccine in kids, whose immune systems can respond differently than adults, still need to be completed.

The company has already begun a study testing the vaccine in adolescents as young as 12, and Bancel expects that study will be done by the time the fall semester starts in September. It expects to start a study for young children between ages 1 and 11 “soon,” but Bancel said that study will take “much longer.”

“We have to start a lower dose, so we should not see clinical data in 2021 but more [likely] in 2022,” he said during a presentation at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference.

Moderna’s vaccine, like Pfizer‘s, uses messenger RNA, or mRNA, technology. It’s a new approach to vaccines that uses genetic material to provoke an immune response. The company said the vaccine’s effectiveness was consistent across age, race and gender in a late-stage trial testing adults.

Bancel told CNBC in November that it would be a while before Moderna began its study in young children.

“For younger children, you have to go down in age very slowly and you have to start at a lower dose to make sure it is safe,” he said during an interview on “Squawk Box” on Nov. 20.

Still, young children were not expected to get a vaccine for several more months. Medical experts have advocated for health-care workers to get the vaccine first, followed by vulnerable Americans, including the elderly, people with preexisting conditions and essential workers. Children and young adults, who are seen as at less of a risk for severe disease, are expected to get the vaccine last.

Bancel also reiterated Monday that the company expects to produce between 600 million to 1 billion doses this year. The company is aiming to produce 1.2 billion doses in 2022.

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