Senior Trial of Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Proves Promising

As the development of the first COVID-19 vaccine continues, the concern of senior recipients has been felt. As senior American’s are a group with a proven high risk of severe complications from COVID-19, Moderna Inc has taken it upon themselves to insure senior’s vaccine safety. 

Results from the safety study of Moderna Inc’s MRNA.O coronavirus vaccine candidate in older adults has proven that it produced virus-neutralizing antibodies at levels similar to those seen in younger adults, with side effects roughly on par with high-dose flu shots.

Senior heroes

Norman Hulme, a 65-year-old took a lower dose of the vaccine. He reported that he felt compelled to take part in the trial after watching first responders in New York and Washington State fight the virus.

“I really had no side effects at all,” said Hulme.

Hulme said he was aware Moderna’s vaccine employed a new technology, and that there might be a risk in taking it, but said, “somebody had to do it.”

The bright outcome

“The findings are reassuring because immunity tends to weaken with age,” said Dr. Evan Anderson, one of the study’s lead researchers from Emory University in Atlanta. 

The study was an extension of Moderna’s Phase I safety trial, and was administered to 40 adults aged 56 to 70 and 71 and older.

Overall, the team found that when older adults who received two injections of 100 microgram 28 days apart, the vaccine produced an immune response roughly in line with those seen in younger adults.

The side effects

Most, if not all, of the side effects of the patients included headache, fatigue, body aches, chills and injection site pain and were deemed mainly mild to moderate.

One developed a grade three fever, which is classified as 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit or above, after receiving the lower vaccine dose. Another developed fatigue so severe it temporarily prevented daily activities, Anderson said.

Typically, side effects occurred soon after receiving the vaccine and resolved quickly, he said.

“This is similar to what a lot of older adults are going to experience with the high dose influenza vaccine,” Anderson said. “They might feel off or have a fever.”

What’s next?

Moderna is already testing the higher dose in a large Phase III trial, the final stage before seeking emergency authorization or approval.

You can read the full report on the vaccine trial in the New England Journal of Medicine here.

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