Brock expert says the approval of the COVID vaccine for young children is a ‘monumental step’

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An expert at Brock says the approval of the COVID vaccine for young children is a ‘monumental step’.

Brock University immunologist Adam MacNeil says the recent approval of the vaccine for infants and preschoolers is a boost needed in Canada’s ongoing battle with the pandemic. 

Health Canada approved the Moderna vaccine has been approved for children between six months and five years old, and shipments are expected to arrive within days.

“This is a monumental step toward maximizing the vaccine layer of protection across our communities as we continue to wrestle with the evolution of one of the most transmissible pathogens in human history and learn more about its long-term impacts on health outcomes,” says MacNeil, Associate Professor of Immunology.

He says the children’s vaccine works in exactly the same way as the adult version, he says, with very mild — and no serious — side effects reported to date.

“As a parent of an under-five-year-old myself, and someone who has dedicated significant time to studying immunity at its most fundamental level, I will absolutely be vaccinating my child,” MacNeil says.

At one-quarter the size of the standard adult dose, Moderna’s latest vaccine takes children’s smaller bodies into account, “with the lower dose being optimized to ensure a safe and effective immune response,” he says.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 continues to pose a threat to children. MacNeil says that in Ontario, 23 children from newborn to four years have recently been hospitalized for COVID, while a similar number is attributed to the entire five-to-39-year-old age range.

He encourages parents who have concerns or questions about their children’s unique situations to talk to their child’s health-care provider.