Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash

Staff reports | Vaccine manufacturer Moderna on Thursday asked the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to authorize low doses of its COVID-19 vaccine for children younger than 6, a long-anticipated move toward potentially opening up vaccination for millions of kids in time for summer. 

The move also comes as people across the nation begin to shed masks, even in tight indoor spaces like planes, trains and buses, and cases begin to inch up again. About three-quarters of kids of all ages have shown signs of infection at some point during the pandemic, according to a report by The Associated Press. And with a new, highly contagious subvariant making moves across the country, more are expected to become infected.

Moderna submitted data to the FDA it hopes will prove two low-dose vaccine doses can protect babies, toddlers and preschoolers. As of now, 18 million younger kids are unprotected, as only children ages 5 and up can be vaccinated in the U.S. thanks to Pfizer’s vaccine. Pfizer is also soon expected to announce if three of its even smaller shots work for younger children, months after discovering that two doses weren’t quite enough.

In an Associated Press report, FDA vaccine chief Dr. Peter Marks said the agency will “move quickly without sacrificing our standards” when it comes to the decision to approve toddler-sized vaccines.

Latest COVID-19 data

In South Carolina, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) transitioned to weekly reporting of new COVID data last month. This week’s data has been delayed due to testing of planned upgrades to the state’s data system, DHEC said in a statement. This means last Tuesday’s update being the most recent of reports including data taken from April 10-16.

State health officials on Tuesday reported 1,521 total new cases of COVID-19, with 996 confirmed, and seven total new deaths, six of which were confirmed. As of April 18, 90 COVID-19-positive individuals are hospitalized, and nine COVID-19-positive individuals are ventilated.

No positivity rate was reported by DHEC.

  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ with at least one vaccine: 67.1%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ who have completed vaccination: 58%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 with at least one vaccine: 20.2%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 who have completed vaccination: 16.4%

For more information, visit the S.C. SCDHEC COVID-19 dashboard.

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