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Moderna COVID-19 vaccine trial struggling to recruit teens: official

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Moderna is struggling to recruit older children for a study to determine whether its COVID-19 vaccine is safe for them, a top health official said Tuesday.

Dr. Moncef Slaoui, who is an advisor of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed, said only around 800 kids have signed up for the clinical trials for ages 12 to 18.

“It’s a real challenge. It’s been already four weeks ongoing,” Slaoui said at a press conference.

He said that it’s “really very important” that at least 3,000 participate in order to collect enough data for health officials to recommend the shot for adolescent use.

“We can’t have that indication unless adolescents 12 to 18 decide to participate,” Slaoui said of the two-shot regimen, which was approved for adults in December.

Though kids appear to be less likely than adults to get sick from the virus, there have been more than 2.3 million pediatric cases in the US since the pandemic began, according to a tally by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

A young woman receiving the Moderna coronavirus vaccine.
Slaoui said that it’s “really very important” that at least 3,000 participate in order to collect enough data for health officials to recommend the shot for adolescent use.
Henry Ford Health System/AFP via

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