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Moderna begins study of COVID-19 vaccine in young children

Moderna announced Tuesday it has started dosing the first participants in a study of its COVID-19 vaccine in young children.

The company is studying its coronavirus vaccine in children between the ages of 6 months and 11 years old, and it said Tuesday that the first participants in this phase 2/3 study have been dosed, per The Wall Street Journal.

Moderna is expecting to enroll 6,750 healthy participants under 12 years old in the United States and Canada for the study, which is being conducted in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

The COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna is one of three that has earned emergency FDA approval for adults in the United States. But Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said this study will "help us assess the potential safety and immunogenicity of our COVID-19 vaccine candidate in this important younger age population." Moderna previously launched a clinical trial to study its vaccine in children between 12 and 17 years old, Axios notes.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, predicted last month that there should be enough data "to be able to say that elementary school children will be able to be vaccinated" by "at the earliest, the end of the year, and very likely, the first quarter of 2022." Fauci also predicted that kids in high school should be able to get vaccinated "sometime this fall," "pretty close to" the first day of school.