EXCLUSIVE-MODERNA COVID-19 shots in children, teenagers ‘may start to be used within weeks,’ CEO says by Reuters

Reuters. File photo: Walmart Pharmacist West Haven, Connecticut, USA, holding a bottle of the Modern Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) vaccine inside a Walmart department store on February 17, 2021. REUTERS / Mike Segar

By Carl O’Donnell

(Reuters) – Modern (NASDAQ 🙂 Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine could begin to be used in children and adolescents in the United States within a week, its chief executive told Reuters in an interview ahead of the Total Health Conference, which will run virtually from November 15-18.

Moderna CEO Staphane Bancel said, based on discussions with the US Food and Drug Administration, he believes his company’s COVID-19 vaccine will be approved for 12- to 17-year-olds in the next few weeks.

Moderna plans to apply for separate U.S. regulatory clearances for children ages 6 to 11 “soon,” Bansel said, adding that he is hopeful the age group could start receiving Moderna shots by the end of this year.

“It’s entirely possible that this Christmas season, 6- to 11-year-olds will have access to the modern vaccine,” Bansel told Reuters. [See link to all Reuters Total Health interviews here:]

Modern is expected to release data from vaccine research on children aged 6 months to 6 years by the end of this year or early 2022, Bansel said.

Moderna applied for U.S. approval of his shots in June for 12- to 17-year-olds. It reveals positive data from a clinical Has conducted trials on children between the ages of 6 and 11 this week, but has not yet submitted an application to regulators for that age.

Children from Kovid-19 are relatively rare compared to adults who become seriously ill or die, creating some complications, and increased infection among unvaccinated children due to the easily spread delta form of coronavirus.

On Tuesday, a panel of FDA advisers backed the use Pfizer Shot in children aged 5 to 11 years. Approval is still required from the FDA and the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Annual booster shot?

The Delta variant has contributed to a global increase in coronavirus cases in recent months, and several countries have begun administering vaccine booster shots to some people to help combat this increase.

U.S. regulators last week approved a half-energy booster shot of the modern vaccine for those 65 years of age or older and who are at risk of serious illness due to health problems or high exposure to the virus through their jobs.

Pfizer Inc (NYSE 🙂 and partner BioNTech SE (NASDAQ 🙂 received booster approval for the same group in September.

Bansell says he expects people over the age of 50 to need the annual COVID-19 booster shot from 2023 as protection against the virus decreases over time. Some experts say it is unclear whether boosters are widely needed.

“I see a world where everyone aged 50 or older is growing every year from 2023,” Bansel said. “It’s a population that is hospitalized and leads to many more deaths.”

Bansel added that Modern was engaged in a ‘good ongoing conversation’ about the long-term licensing of his COVID-19 vaccine at a South African vaccine manufacturing center backed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

WHO is working to bring more COVID-19 vaccines to Africa to improve access to developing countries after rich countries bought most of this year’s supply, leaving many countries with very low vaccination rates.

In September, a WHO official told Reuters that the lack of progress in negotiations with Modern meant the project would take time.

“We were very clear that we would not sue (patent rights) during the epidemic,” Bansel said. “The question is whether they want a long-term license and, as you know, there are many implications of discussing licensing.”

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