Moderna plans to begin testing its coronavirus vaccine in children

The drugmaker Moderna said on Wednesday that it would soon begin testing its coronavirus vaccine in children aged 12 years through 17 years. The study is to include 3,000 children, with one-half receiving two shots of vaccine 4 weeks apart, and one-half getting placebo shots of salt water.

The drugmaker Moderna said on Wednesday that it would soon begin testing its coronavirus vaccine in children aged 12 years through 17 years. The study is to include 3,000 children, with one-half receiving two shots of vaccine 4 weeks apart, and one-half getting placebo shots of salt water. The study is not yet recruiting, and Colleen Hussey, a spokeswoman for Moderna, said it is not certain when the testing sites will be listed or start accepting volunteers. No vaccine can be widely given to children until it has been tested in them. Moderna's vaccine has not yet been studied in children or pregnant women. In the new clinical trial in adolescents, girls past puberty will be tested before each injection to make sure they are not pregnant. Children have more active immune systems than adults, and may have stronger reactions, including more fever, muscle and joint aches, and fatigue, said William Schaffner, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University and an adviser on vaccines to CDC. Paul Offit, MD, a vaccine expert at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, said that vaccines "for the most part" work equally well in children and adults. Occasionally, different doses are required, he said. Moderna will study the same dose in children that it has tested in adults.