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Moderna says smaller doses of COVID-19 vaccine effective in children under 6

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The company said that two smaller doses of its vaccine has shown to be roughly 44% effective at preventing Omicron infection in children between 6 months old and 2 years old. That figure dropped slightly to 38% for children between 2 and 6.&nbsp;File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/f24018ab6741203f5053cb9ddb333dca/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
The company said that two smaller doses of its vaccine has shown to be roughly 44% effective at preventing Omicron infection in children between 6 months old and 2 years old. That figure dropped slightly to 38% for children between 2 and 6. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

March 23 (UPI) -- Biotech company Moderna announced on Wednesday that smaller doses of its COVID-19 vaccine have proven to be highly effective in protecting small children, including babies, from the coronavirus.

Moderna said results from a late-stage study have demonstrated that the child-sized vaccine doses work well in children between 6 months and 6 years old. The studies included almost 7,000 children in that age range in the United States and Canada.

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"This interim analysis showed a robust neutralizing antibody response in both age groups after a 25 [microgram] two-dose primary series of mRNA-1273 along with a favorable safety profile," the company said in a statement.

"Given the need for a vaccine against COVID-19 in infants and young children we are working with the U.S. FDA and regulators globally to submit these data as soon as possible," added Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel.

RELATED New CDC data shows COVID-19 vaccine protects kids against multiple variants

The company said that two doses of the child-sized vaccine proved in the studies to be less effective against the more contagious Omicron variant -- about 44% in children between 6 months old and 2 years old and 38% for children between 2 and 6.

The smaller doses for children contain about a quarter of the vaccine dose given to adults, Moderna said.

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Moderna said that, because of the positive late-phase study results, it will soon ask regulators in the United States and Europe to authorize the smaller doses for children under 6. It also said it would request authorization for larger doses in kids 6-11 and update its application for kids 12-17.

RELATED Pfizer, BioNTech delay FDA application for young kids' COVID-19 vaccine

Close to 20 million children under the age of 5 are the only ones in the United States who are not yet eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccination.

Competitor Pfizer said last month that it was delaying an application to regulators to authorize its three-dose vaccine for children between 6 months old and 4 years old, mainly to gather more study information.

Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that data showed that about two-thirds of unvaccinated children exhibited symptoms of COVID-19 in 2021 at a time when the Delta variant was the dominant strain in the United States. Vaccinated children between 12 and 15 had 87% more protection against the strain and the Omicron variant, it said.

RELATED Study: Teens, kids with chronic health issues at higher risk for severe COVID-19

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