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'The more vaccines we have available, the better': Moderna shot may soon be approved for kids

A COVID-19 vaccine is not approved for children younger than 12. Doctors say it's critical more adults get vaccinated to protect them from the virus.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Vaccinations are often thought of as a personal choice, but just how many people protect themselves from COVID-19 has a broad impact on the community.

According to the CDC, 50% of American adults are fully now vaccinated.

Earlier this week, Moderna reported its vaccine is safe and effective in teens age 12 to 17. The company plans to submit its results to the FDA for emergency use authorization in early June. Regardless, there's still an entire group of younger children who aren't able to get the shot. 

Whether or not to get the COVID-19 vaccine is an individual choice, but it has community implications.

“The more people are vaccinated, the less the virus lives in our communities,” said Dr. Margaret Stager, the director of adolescent and young adult medicine at Metro Health Medical Center. "It can only transfer human to human. And the more people get vaccinated, it can't transfer. It can't infect other people. 

Children have not been immune to the coronavirus, but the vaccines haven't been fully studied or approved for children younger than 12. It's why experts say more adults, even those who think they may not need or want to get the shot, should roll up their sleeves.

“This is you doing your part, not just for yourself, but also for your community,” Stager said.

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With Moderna announcing its vaccine is safe for teenagers, there's optimism a second shot could be available soon.

“From our standpoint the more vaccines we have available, the better,” Dr. David Priest with Novant Health said.

This comes as vaccine providers work to bring shots directly to people so getting one is easy, even if it's unplanned.

“When another company comes along and says, 'hey, we've done the studies, we've determined this is safe for yet another age group,' it gives us one more way to use the vaccine in those kinds of settings. So, rather than big mass vaccination events, we're going to have more embedded vaccines in everyday life," Priest said.

Contact Chloe Leshner at cleshner@wcnc.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.