What We're Reading: Moderna Vaccine Effective in Younger Children; Rapid COVID-19 Tests; Biden Imposes New US Travel Rules

Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine was found to be safe and effective in children aged 6 to 11 years; the Biden administration seeks to increase the availability of cost-effective rapid at-home COVID-19 tests; President Joe Biden will impose new vaccine requirements for international air travelers and lift current travel restrictions.

Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Safe, Effective in Children 6 to 11

As reported by The New York Times, the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Moderna was found to be safe and provide a powerful immune response in children aged 6 to 11 years. Coming as the Pfizer/BioNTech 2-dose vaccine is being reviewed today by the FDA for children aged 5 to 11 years, findings of the analysis examining the Moderna vaccine in children showed that participants had antibody levels that were 1.5 times higher than those seen in young adults. The company said it plans to submit the results soon to the FDA and to regulatory agencies worldwide.

Biden Administration Seeks to Increase Availability of Rapid COVID-19 Tests

The Biden administration yesterday announced steps to increase the availability of cost-effective rapid at-home COVID-19 tests, which may assist employers with more than 100 employees that must adhere to vaccination mandates or weekly testing. According to The Washington Post, a $70 million investment by the National Institutes of Health from funds derived via the American Rescue Plan helped speed up the authorization process for new tests by helping manufacturers to produce the data needed by regulators. After announcing the purchase of $1 billion worth of rapid coronavirus tests earlier this month, the White House expects the development of tests to increase to 200 million per month by December.

President Biden Revises Restrictions on International Travel

President Joe Biden signed an order yesterday that will enact new vaccine requirements for most international air travelers and lift current travel restrictions imposed on China, India, and European countries. As reported by Reuters, the new travel rules are set to take effect on November 8, with children under 18 years and nontourist travelers from countries with nationwide vaccination rates of less than 10% exempt from the new requirements. Notably, those who receive exemption will require COVID-19 vaccination within 60 days after arriving in the United States.