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Moderna doesn’t count on information for younger youngsters till 2022

A nurse prepares a syringe of the COVID-19 Moderna vaccine for a New York Fire Department Emergency Services (FDNY EMS) employee suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in New York on December 23, 2020.

Carlo Allegri | Reuters

Moderna does not expect clinical trial data on its coronavirus vaccine in young children until 2022, CEO Stephane Bancel said on Monday.

Moderna’s vaccine has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in people aged 18 and over. Clinical trials testing the vaccine in children whose immune systems may react differently than adults have yet to be completed.

The company has already started a study testing the vaccine in adolescents aged 12 and over. Bancel expects the study to be completed by the beginning of the fall semester in September. A study in young children 1-11 years old is expected “soon”, but Bancel said the study will be “much longer”.

“We have to start with a lower dose so we shouldn’t be seeing clinical data in 2021, we should see 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 trigger an immune response. The company said the vaccine’s effectiveness was consistent across age, race, and gender in a late-stage study testing adults.

Bancel told CNBC in November that it would be a while before Moderna starts studying young children.

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

However, young children were not expected to have a vaccine for a few months. Medical experts have campaigned for health care workers to receive the vaccine first, followed by vulnerable Americans, including the elderly, people with pre-existing medical conditions, and key workers. Children and young adults who are less at risk of developing serious illnesses are expected to receive the vaccine last.

Bancel reiterated Monday that the company expects to produce between 600 million and 1 billion cans this year. The company aims to produce 1.2 billion cans by 2022.

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