UNM researchers to join clinical trial testing Moderna vaccine in children

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — University of New Mexico Health Sciences researchers are planning to participate in a national clinical trial to test the safety of the Moderna vaccine in children.

Officials said the trial will enroll 6,750 healthy children between the ages of 6 months and 12 years old.

The UNM branch of the study is awaiting final regulatory approval before launching. It will be led by Dr. Walter Dehority, an infectious disease specialist and associate professor in the UNM Department of Pediatrics.

Dehority said vaccinating children is crucial to achieve herd immunity and also has huge implications for the opening of schools.

“During the COVID epidemic we’ve had four or five kids in the hospital at a given time, and they’re often in the intensive care unit,” he said. “Why have New Mexican kids in the ICU with COVID-related disease every day if we could prevent that?”

The trial is being conducted in partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the federal Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

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