COVID-19 vaccinations for children six months to five years old are expected to start next month, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, one day after emergency use authorization (EUA) was granted to Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for children in the age group.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is to meet in the next few days to discuss vaccination procedures, said Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞), the CECC’s acting spokesman and medical response division deputy head.
The first batch of the Moderna vaccines for children six months to five years old is expected to arrive next month, Lo said.
As for whether Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine might be made available for children under the age of five, Lo said the CECC is still waiting for technical information from the manufacturer about its use for the age group.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that the Moderna vaccine would be administered in two 0.25 milliliter doses, each containing 25 micrograms of mRNA, with a minimum interval of 28 days.
In comparison, each dose given to people aged 12 or older contains 100 micrograms of mRNA, with 50 micrograms for children aged six to 11.
Moderna said that its interim results from a study for the six months to five years age group showed a robust neutralizing antibody response consistent with that of young adults, even at the lower 25 microgram dose.
Taiwan began offering the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to children aged six to 11 on May 2, and on May 25 started the rollout of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children aged five to 11.
Meanwhile, the FDA on Friday also granted EUA for the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine for adults.
The vaccine is for people aged 18 or older with a regimen of two 0.5 milliliter doses given three weeks apart, the FDA said in a statement after a meeting to review Novavax quality, safety and efficacy data.
Based on an overall assessment and considering urgent domestic public health needs, experts at the meeting agreed to approve imports of Novavax vaccines in accordance with Taiwan’s pharmaceutical laws, the FDA said.
In clinical trials involving people aged 18 or older, the most common adverse reactions were tenderness or pain at the injection site, fatigue, muscle pain, headaches, general weakness, joint pain, and nausea or vomiting, with severity ranging from mild to moderate, the FDA said.
It would continue to monitor domestic and overseas vaccination safety alerts, while analyzing and evaluating data related to adverse vaccine events, and implement a safety monitoring mechanism to ensure the safety of the vaccine for the public, the FDA said.
Taiwan is likely to receive a shipment of Novavax through the COVAX global vaccine sharing initiative next month, Lo said.
The latest CECC data showed that 91.15 percent of Taiwan’s population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The data showed that 82.6 percent has had at least two doses and 69.24 percent has received a booster shot.
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