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Report: COVID Vaccine Data for Youngest Children and Grade-School Students Won’t Be Available Until 2022, Moderna CEO Warns

By Steve Snyder | January 12, 2021

(Getty Images)

Go Deeper – Schools and COVID: Follow our latest reporting on the pandemic, remote learning and fears of ‘COVID Learning Loss’ at The74Million.org/PANDEMIC

Amid the rush to provide educators across the country with immediate access to coronavirus vaccines, (Jo Napolitano reported here last month on states’ decisions to move teachers up the priority list), attention is now also turning to children: How to get a greater percentage of students nationwide both tested and vaccinated.

Prior to the holiday, the Biden administration unveiled a proposal that would have the federal government cover the multibillion-dollar cost of accelerating COVID testing at every K-12 school. But on Monday, the CEO of one vaccine maker warned that even as testing of students increases, we may be more than a year away from having an effective vaccine for young children.

As reported by CNBC, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel was speaking at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference when he broke down three distinct timelines for vaccine distribution. The company’s current vaccine has received FDA approval for use in people 18 years and older, which means college students and the oldest high schoolers could be receiving the vaccine later this year. Bancel said Moderna has also already launched a study testing the vaccine for adolescents as young as 12, and that results are expected by the start of the fall semester in September.

But Bancel warned the company is likely more than a year away from knowing whether the vaccine will work for infants, toddlers and those children attending elementary schools.

CNBC reports that Bancel said he expects to commence a study for young children between ages 1 and 11 “soon,” but the CEO also warned such a 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 was reported as saying.

For parents of grade-schoolers, this may push back hopes of vaccinations to the 2021-22, or even 2022-23 school year.

Go Deeper – Schools and COVID: Follow our latest reporting on the pandemic, remote learning and fears of ‘COVID Learning Loss’ at The74Million.org/PANDEMIC. A few recent headlines:

—Where are the Kids?: The concerning case of Cleveland’s no-show students, as more than 8,000 kids go missing from online classes (Read the full story

—The Cost of ‘COVID Slide’: Study estimates that schools could see annual costs of $2,500 per student to address pandemic-related learning loss (Read the full story

—The Students Juggling School and Job During the Pandemic: How teens are balancing Zoom classes and fast-food jobs to support their struggling families (Read the full story)

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