Washington parents praise Moderna's move to get COVID vaccines approved for kids under 6

Moderna is asking the Food and Drug Administration to greenlight their COVID vaccine for kids six and under, a move many parents say they’ve been waiting a long time for.

The company is seeking sign-off from the FDA after clinical trials showed safe protection, saying two doses of its vaccine were 51% effective at preventing symptoms in children six months to two years old and 37% effective in kids two to six.

Alex Prescott is a mom to a child under five, and she says she's ready for the approval.

"We are going to be first in line for the vaccine when it’s available for our kids," Prescott said, holding her son in her arms.

The mother is also a nurse and says her greatest concern was bringing the virus home to her family.

"Having that extra protection and peace of mind is something that I'm really looking forward to," Prescott said.  

She is on the frontlines every day, but the virus hit close to home in 2021.

"My niece was nine years old at the time and contracted asymptomatic COVID, but then developed MISC and then almost died," Prescott said.  

Prescott says her niece will have to live with that rare condition for the rest of her life. 

Fortunately, the FDA says COVID shots might be available for children under five by this summer.

Right now, about 18 million children are unprotected.

Prescott isn't the only one welcoming the news.

"It’s felt like a no-brainer. It feels like the other series of vaccines that they get from their pediatricians," Haley Brink said.  

While some parents are still hesitant. Dr. Asra Mazhar, with Overlake Hospital, says data from the trial is reassuring.

"The side effects profiles that we found on this vaccine are minimal in terms of fever, or just injection site tenderness, similar to how the adolescent population has tolerated the vaccine," Mazhar said. "I'm reassured by that data both as a physician and as a mother."

The FDA’s review comes as COVID cases are on the rise across Western Washington.

Earlier this week, Bremerton High School shifted to online learning after staffing levels were critical – 28 out of 100 called out – for several illnesses including COVID. The school said 19 students were also reported absent due to the virus.  

"I feel like it’s the right thing to do, regardless of whether our kids have had COVID or not," Brink said.

Moderna is also testing booster shots for all children under 18.