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Virologist talks about what to keep in mind if Moderna is approved for younger people

"If you're going to get the mRNA vaccine you've got to get that second dose. The first dose isn't enough to cover all of the variants.”

TAMPA, Fla. — On 10 Tampa Bay, we’re committed to keeping you up to date with all the latest COVID-19 news.

That’s why every week we are taking your questions to a local medical expert to talk about what’s going on. From the latest on where Tampa Bay stands with vaccines, to monitoring the COVID-19 variants, we’ll continue tracking information.

Dr. Michael Teng, Ph.D., is a virologist at USF Health.

Here are some of the questions we asked this week:

Q: Moderna has said its shots are 100% effective in kids as young as 12 and is expected to seek emergency use authorization soon. What will the impact of that be?

A: “Right now, it's just the Pfizer vaccine but if the FDA allows Moderna to amend their emergency use authorization to include kids down to age 12, we'll be able to move quickly vaccinate our middle school and upper school high school type of children. They don't sit in one classroom all the time, so it's harder to do contact tracing with middle school students or high school students. They have different classrooms for different periods of the day. It's a little easier for elementary school because they have a room, right? A homeroom with a teacher."

Q: If Moderna’s vaccine is approved for use in kids as young as 12, how should parents choose between Pfizer and Moderna?

A: “These two are basically very similar vaccines, so it really doesn't matter. I would just say get the first one you can. Right now, there's plenty of both of them out there, so whichever one is available."

Q: We know the current vaccines have been effective against the current Covid mutations, but will the virus ever stop mutating?

A: “It's not going to stop mutating and it's certainly not going to stop mutating when we have high levels of transmission, not just in the United States but throughout the world, because there are a lot of places that haven't even seen a single vaccine dose.”
"The vaccines that we have right now, the Moderna, the Pfizer, the J&J, they seem to cover all of the variants that have been coming out, but really only after the second dose for the mRNA vaccine. So, if you're going to get the mRNA vaccine you've got to get that second dose. The first dose isn't enough to cover all of the variants.”

You can send your questions to 727-577-8522 and we might answer them on 10 Tampa Bay Brightside.

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