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Baton Rouge family who participated Moderna vaccine trial on kids say ‘it’s safe and effective’

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 10:42 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 27, 2021 at 2:45 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Moderna announced Monday, Oct. 25., that a low dose of its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and appears to work in 6 to 11-year-olds, as the manufacturer joins its rival Pfizer in moving toward expanding shots to children.

Researchers tested two shots for the 6 to 11-year-olds, given a month apart, that each contained half the dose given to adults. Preliminary results showed vaccinated children developed virus-fighting antibodies similar to levels that young adults produce after full-strength shots, Moderna said in a news release.

Ginger Brininstool, a Baton Rouge native, signed up her daughter, Megan Pollock, to participate in Moderna’s vaccine trial.

“I was really scared the first time because it’s a shot and those normally hurt, but once I got it, I felt relieved, and it was fine. With the second one it was the same thing,” Pollock said.

The study involved more than 4,700 children ages 6 to 11 who got either the vaccine or dummy shots. Moderna said that like adults, the vaccinated youngsters had temporary side effects including fatigue, headache, fever and injection-site pain.

Brininstool said her daughter exhibited each symptom but was fine after one day.

“The fever was gone, her arm was still sore, but she felt well enough to do her normal activities,” Brininstool said.

Doctors said an FDA approval on this shot could be the turning point in this fight against COVID.

Dr. Daniel Hsia from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, who led the vaccine trial in Baton Rouge, explained why.

“A good percentage, over 25% of the current positive cases are in this pediatric population, and they are the highest group of kids who are unvaccinated,” Hsia said.

Hsia said the trial revealed no dramatic or long-term side effects.

“It’s very comparable side effects to the adults, but at a lower dose,” Hsia said. “So, at half the dose, and also the level of antibodies that are being produced in children are on par with adults.”

Hsia said they are already in the process of testing the vaccine on children between 6 months and 6-years-old.

He said the next step is to continue monitoring the kids from the first trial and see how they adjust over the coming weeks and months.

“If that’s the minor inconvenience, and don’t get it wrong, she didn’t like it, she wasn’t happy that she had a fever, she wasn’t happy that her arm was sore, but even after that, she said it was all worth it,” Brininstool said.

Moderna released no further details and hasn’t submitted its data to a scientific journal but said it plans to share the interim results with the FDA and global regulators soon.

Hsia said you should speak with your child’s pediatrician if you have any questions about the vaccine.

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