Justice hopes Moderna request for kid’s vaccine “flies through” emergency approval process

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia officials are reacting to a request by Moderna to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve the company’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids under the age of six,

Gov. Jim Justice

The request was discussed during Gov. Jim Justice’s COVID-19 briefing Thursday.

Justice said he hopes the request “flies through.”

“Hopefully it is here. We don’t have approval but they’ve asked for approval,” Justice said.

The official request is for emergency approval of the mRNA-1273 vaccine for kids 6 months through 5 years of age.

National media reports indicated the request could be approved by June.

State Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh said Thursday he knows some parents of younger children are anxiously awaiting the approval.

“We do know that for many parents who have young children that have not been ineligible to be vaccinated—they are waiting with bated breath to have that moment that they can vaccinate their children and protect them,” Marsh said.

He did say it’s difficult to predict the overall popularity of the vaccine for kids among West Virginia families. He said the Pfizer vaccine available for kids over 6 hasn’t been produced the highest numbers.

Dr. Clay Marsh

“We have seen less uptake in the younger part of our populations eligible today,” Marsh said.

Thursday’s state DHHR COVID-19 dashboard showed 19% of those between the ages of 5-11 eligible for a COVID vaccine have received one. The number grows to 46% for those between the ages of 12-15 and 59% of those between 16-20.

Marsh said children have generally done better than adults when it comes to deaths and hospitalizations with COVID but there are risks including Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), long COVID and the transmitting factor that children can carry.

Marsh said he’s hopeful for better vaccination numbers when the Moderna vaccine is approved.

“We hope that parents do see this as an opportunity to protect their children,” Marsh said.

Moderna’s vaccine for children includes two doses.

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