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Why Moderna stock isn't surging on news of coronavirus vaccine for young children – Yahoo Finance

The reaction to a potential COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough for young children out of Moderna (MRNA) may have some traders scratching their heads.

Shares of the biotech fell 3% on Wednesday on positive interim data released by Moderna for its coronavirus vaccine for children under six years old. Moderna said the shots were about 44% effective in preventing Omicron in children six months up to two years old.

“We believe these latest results from the KidCOVE study are good news for parents of children under 6 years of age. We now have clinical data on the performance of our vaccine from infants six months of age through older adults. Given the need for a vaccine against COVID-19 in infants and young children we are working with the U.S. FDA and regulators globally to submit these data as soon as possible,” Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said in a statement.

As for the muted stock price reaction, analysts who cover Moderna point to a couple factors.

“The company has been indicating that [the successful results announced Wednesday] at various investor conferences,” Oppenheimer biotech analyst Hartaj Singh told Yahoo Finance via email.

Added Singh, “The pediatric market (six months to six years old) tends to be smaller for vaccine manufacturers. It is a parental decision to vaccinate their children, and most parents will likely be cautious as the COVID-19 vaccines are not a one and done like smallpox, etc.”

Singh has a Market-perform rating on shares of Moderna.

Singh adds, however, that the development out of Moderna is ultimately a positive from a competitive standpoint.

“However, this age group approval gets Moderna on a — more — equal footing with Pfizer/BioNTech,” Singh said.

The Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine shot is currently the only one approved by the regulators for children ages five to 11.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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