Biotechnology company Moderna Therapeutics will soon begin large-scale testing of its COVID-19 vaccine on infants.
The vaccine clinical trial, called KidCOVE, is being carried out at 79 locations across 13 states and will involve roughly 13,275 participants between the ages of 6 months and 11 years old in its entirety.
The first phase — which has already been completed — involved children between the ages of 6 years to less than 12 years old. The study is now reportedly in its second phase, during which children between the ages of 2 years to less than 6 years old will undergo testing. The third and final stage will test the vaccine on children ages 6 months to less than 2 years old.
In August, trial administrators reportedly amassed all the participants they needed for each stage.
Participants in the clinical trial are given two injections in the upper arm about 28 days apart and are then asked to return with their guardian to the study site for at least four follow-up appointments over the next 13 months, according to KidCOVE.
"The primary purpose of the KidCOVE Study is to test the safety and effectiveness of the study vaccine, called mRNA-1273, that may protect children between the ages of 6 months to < 12 years from getting sick if they come into contact with SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19," KidCOVE's website states.
Just the News reported that the controversial study has only received sporadic media attention so far, citing local news coverage in Miami and Charlotte about participants. The outlet added that the testing is being undertaken despite the fact that most public health experts agree that the risk for children infected with COVID-19 is very low.
Vaccine administration in children has been a hot-button issue in America for several months. Those opposed to giving COVID-19 vaccines to children argue it is unnecessary due to the virus' negligible effect on them. But proponents, like Dr. Bill Hartman, the co-principal investigator of the clinical trial at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, say vaccine administration in children is "the final frontier" in the fight against the pathogen.
"Our very youngest children need to get the vaccine and we need to make sure they are safe," he said in a press release issued on Monday "The kids participating are heroes. They will be able to tell the story of how they helped save the world."