Newswire: Moderna reports Covid vaccine safe for children 6 to 12

By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Company officials have announced that Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine generated a robust immune response and was generally well-tolerated in children aged six to 11 years.

The pharmaceutical giant plans to submit its findings later this week to federal regulators.
Moderna reported that its two-dose vaccine generated virus-neutralizing antibodies in children, and safety was comparable to what was previously seen in clinical trials of adolescents and adults.

“We are encouraged by the immunogenicity and safety profile of mRNA-1273 in children aged 6 to under 12 years and are pleased that the study met its primary immunogenicity endpoints,” Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna, said in a statement. “We look forward to filing with regulators globally and remain committed to doing our part to help end the COVID-19 pandemic with a vaccine for adults and children of all ages.”

A panel of FDA advisers expects to determine on Tuesday whether to authorize Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid vaccine for children aged five to 11.

The Moderna vaccine has been authorized for adults over 18, and the company recently won approval for a third dose – or booster shot – in some Americans.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration remains undecided on Moderna’s vaccine for those aged 12 through 17, with the doses reportedly resulting in cases of heart inflammation in young adults in Sweden.
Moderna officials claimed that most of the side effects in the trial for kids were mild or moderate in severity, with fatigue, headache, fever, and injection site pain the most common.

Approximately 4,753 individuals participated in the trial, and the company provided each with 50 microgram doses, or half the strength used in the primary vaccine series for adults. The 50-microgram dose also received authorization for use as a booster shot.

“These results demonstrate strong immune response in this cohort of children one month after the second dose and met the co-primary immunogenicity endpoints for 6 to less than 12 years olds,” Moderna officials noted.

Newswire: Black Americans are being vaccinated at far lower rates

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Black woman being vaccinated

When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved two new vaccines to combat the coronavirus, the initial concern was whether African Americans would accept vaccination.
The rollout of the medicine from Pfizer and Moderna featured heavy promotion.
High-profile African Americans like former President Barack Obama, National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) Coronavirus Task Force Member Dr. Ebony Hilton, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson received their shots publicly.
An African American nurse in New York earned distinction as the first person in the country to receive a vaccination, and Meharry Medical College President Dr. James Hildreth, a Black man, sat on the FDA board that approved the vaccines.
Now, concern has shifted from whether African Americans will accept the vaccine.
Many now wonder whether doses would be available to the Black community.
A new Kaiser Family Foundation report has revealed that African Americans are getting vaccinated at much lower rates than whites. The report, released on Saturday, Jan. 16, shows that in 16 U.S. states where the vaccine is available, white residents are being vaccinated by as much as three times higher than African Americans.
One example is Pennsylvania, where 1.2 percent of white residents had been vaccinated, compared with just 0.3 percent of African Americans in the Keystone State.
Kaiser Family Foundation researchers noted that vaccine distribution is supposed to align with healthcare and frontline workers’ demographics, presumably making the vaccine equally available to all races.
Some have hinted the lack of vaccine access is rooted in racism – not an unwillingness of minorities to get vaccinated.
Dr. Taison Bell, of the University of Virginia, told NBC News that he was “horrified to discover that members of environmental services — the janitorial staff — did not have access to hospital email. ”Hospital staff receives its vaccination information via email, Dr. Bell stated.
“That’s what structural racism looks like,” Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, told NBC. “Those groups were seen and not heard — nobody thought about it.”
As of Jan. 25, the U.S. had surpassed more than 25 million total cases and 413,000 deaths due to the pandemic, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported.
According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis, African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans are dying from COVID-19 nearly three times the rate of white people. “With the country’s coronavirus pandemic continuing unabated as cases and deaths increase, and a more contagious variant of the virus spreads, there is a greater focus on vaccine distribution troubles,” Kaiser Family Foundation President and CEO Drew Altman wrote.
The covid-19 vaccine distribution effort is in trouble, Altman demurred. According to federal data, only 15 million of the more than 40 million doses distributed nationwide have been given to people. “Hundreds of different distribution programs are being organized across states and counties for frontline health workers, residents of long-term care facilities, the elderly and others that states are prioritizing in different sequences,” Altman continued.
“The country needs a distribution strategy that our fragmented, multilayered healthcare system can effectively implement. This will require more federal direction, a simpler priority structure, and a different role for the states.”