Moderna said on Tuesday that her Sars-CoV-2 vaccine was “powerfully effective” in 12 to 17 year olds. In a clinical trial, the company did not identify any cases of symptomatic Covid-19 in participants who received their two doses.
A 100% effective vaccine
Moderna’s results, announced by the company in a communicated, are based on a clinical trial involving 3,732 participants aged 12 to 17, two-thirds of whom received two doses of the vaccine. Researchers have found no cases of symptomatic Covid-19 in fully vaccinated adolescents. This 100% efficacy was also noted by the companies Pfizer and BioNTech in a trial of their vaccine involving adolescents aged 12 to 15 years. In addition, Moderna reports 93% effectiveness with a single dose.
The side effects are also similar to those seen in adults: pain at the injection site, headache, fatigue, muscle pain and some chills. “No significant security problem has been identified to date”, assures Moderna. All study participants will be followed for one year after their second dose.
“This is really great news”said Akiko Iwasaki, immunologist at Yale University. “These vaccines work very well in all age groups and potentially even better in younger people.”.
A view shared by Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases. “Teenagers will be more comfortable being able to go back to school. They will be able to do more social activities. I think it will make a big difference in the reopening of our company ”.
Following the publication of these excellent results, Moderna plans to apply for authorization to use its vaccine in adolescents from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as of next June. As a reminder, federal regulators already cleared the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for 12 to 15 year olds earlier this month.
Vaccination coverage still uneven
However, vaccine coverage for adolescents may have to wait a little longer. While more than 1.7 billion doses of vaccine have already been administered worldwide, there are still huge inequalities between countries. To date, around 84% of the doses have indeed been offered by people in high and upper middle income countries, while only 0.3% of them have gone to low income countries. .
“A huge proportion of the world’s population lives in countries that have no access to doses at all at the moment”, confirms Andrea Taylor, associate director of programs at the Global Health Innovation Center at Duke University. “In one country we are looking to cover children, and in more than 100 other countries we are desperately trying to try to immunize the most vulnerable populations.”.
For now, Covax, a global initiative to promote access to vaccines in low- and middle-income countries, is therefore far from reaching its distribution target.
To remedy this, the IMF recently referred to an increase of $ 4 billion in initial funding for this initiative, hoping to increase immunization coverage in affected countries from 20% to 30% by the end of the year. For their part, Moderna and Pfizer have pledged to deliver tens of millions of doses to Covax by the end of 2021.