Moderna’s COVID-19 Vaccine is Safe for Children 6-11 Years Old

US-based pharmaceutical company Moderna said clinical trial results showed that low doses of its COVID-19 vaccine were safe for children between the ages of 6 and 11.

The company said it vaccinated more than 4,700 children with two doses of the vaccine at 28 days apart, each at half the dose given to adults. Preliminary results showed antibody levels in children were similar to levels seen in young adults who received the full dose of the vaccine.

Moderna says children experience side effects from the vaccine, such as fatigue, headache, fever and pain at the injection site. The number of test subjects was too small to detect rare side effects such as myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart, detected mostly among boys and young men who received either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.

The study has not yet been published by a peer-reviewed journal, but Moderna said it would soon submit its findings to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and global drug regulators. The FDA is scheduled to meet Tuesday (26/10) to review the application by Pfizer and its Germany-based partner, BioNTech, to administer its vaccine to children between the ages of 5 and 11.

A Muslim is given the Moderna vaccination outside a mosque on the outskirts of Abuja, Nigeria on Oct. 8, 2021. (Photo: AP)

A Muslim is given the Moderna vaccination outside a mosque on the outskirts of Abuja, Nigeria on Oct. 8, 2021. (Photo: AP)

In a related development, Reuters reports that the African Union will buy up to 110 million doses of the Moderna vaccine. The African Union will receive 15 million doses before the end of this year, with another 35 million doses arriving in the first quarter of 20 and up to 60 million more in the second quarter.

The purchase was facilitated by the administration of US President Joe Biden, which delayed delivery of the 33 million doses it bought from Moderna to give the African Union a chance to negotiate the purchase of the vaccine with the company.

“This delay is important because it allows us to quickly increase the number of vaccines available,” African Union coronavirus envoy Strive Masiyiwa said in an email. Reuters. “We urge other vaccine-producing countries to follow the lead of the US government and give us similar access to purchase these and other vaccines.”

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has extended coronavirus-related health regulations for cruise ships until January 15, 2022. The current regulations, which first took effect in March 2020 and include a requirement for ships to sail with at least 95 percent of passengers and crew members have been fully vaccinated, will expire on November 1st.

The CDC said when the current regulation expires in January, it will transition into a voluntary program for cruise ship operators to detect and control the spread of COVID-19 on their ships.

In Hong Kong, chief executive Carrie Lam announced Tuesday that the city will tighten travel restrictions related to the coronavirus to better comply with regulations in mainland China.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam listens to reporters' questions during a press conference in Hong Kong, August 17, 2021. (Photo: AP)

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam listens to reporters’ questions during a press conference in Hong Kong, August 17, 2021. (Photo: AP)

Lam told reporters that the government would cancel most quarantine exemptions for certain visitors arriving from outside Hong Kong and mainland China, with the exception of cross-border truck drivers. Diplomats, airline crew and business executives are now exempt from mandatory hotel quarantines of 14-21 days, one of the world’s strictest restrictions.

Lam defended the tightened restrictions, saying they were necessary to give authorities in Beijing the confidence to restart quarantine-free travel between mainland China and Hong Kong. But a leading regional financial industry group, the Asia Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, said Monday that Hong Kong’s strict policies of zero COVID cases and mandatory quarantine for international visitors have eroded the city’s status as a global financial hub. [uh/ab]

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