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Moderna has submitted a request for emergency authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine in children aged 6 months to 2 years and from 2 years to 5 years.

The request has been made to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as well as international regulators, and if approved it would be the first COVID vaccine available to children under five (a Pfizer vaccine is already in use for children aged five and over).

The vaccine series would comprise two 25 microgram doses of Moderna's mRNA-1273 vaccine – less than the 100 mg adult dose – with Moderna saying interim results from its latest studies showed a "robust neutralizing antibody response in the 6 month to under 6 years of age group."

It's hoped that the vaccine could be made available by the summer.

The vaccines are about 51% effective at preventing infection from the omicron variant in kids under 2, and 37% effective among kids aged 2-5 years old. Vaccines have become less effective at preventing infection due to the onset of more contagious variants, but Moderna says the vaccine is highly effective at preventing serious infections – more so than with adult shots.

Per CNBC, Moderna says that adults have around 1,000 units of antibody after two shots, providing at least 70% protection against severe disease, but children in its study had 1,400-1,800 units of antibody after their two-dose regimen. None of the children included in its study were hospitalized.

Moderna is also developing a booster shot for children that targets omicron as well as the original strain.

"We are proud to share that we have initiated our EUA submission for authorization for our COVID-19 vaccine for young children," said Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna.

"We believe mRNA-1273 will be able to safely protect these children against SARS-CoV-2, which is so important in our continued fight against COVID-19 and will be especially welcomed by parents and caregivers."

Pfizer has been developing its own mRNA vaccine for 2-5 year olds, but authorization for this was delayed pending more data, after it appeared to be less effective against the omicron variant.

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