SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccination elicits robust antibody responses in children

Yannic C. Bartsch, Kerri J. St. Denis, Paulina Kaplonek, Jaewon Kang, Evan C. Lam, Madeleine D. Burns, Eva J. Farkas, Jameson P. Davis, Brittany P. Boribong, Andrea G. Edlow, Alessio Fasano, Wayne G. Shreffler, Dace Zavadska, Marina Johnson, David Goldblatt, Alejandro B. Balazs, Lael M. Yonker, Galit Alter (Coresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Although children have been largely spared from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants of concern (VOCs) with increased transmissibility, combined with fluctuating mask mandates and school reopenings, has led to increased infections and disease among children. Thus, there is an urgent need to roll out COVID-19 vaccines to children of all ages. However, whether children respond equivalently to adults to mRNA vaccines and whether dosing will elicit optimal immunity remain unclear. Here, we aimed to deeply profile the vaccine-induced humoral immune response in 6- to 11-year-old children receiving either a pediatric (50 μg) or adult (100 μg) dose of the mRNA-1273 vaccine and to compare these responses to vaccinated adults, infected children, and children who experienced multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). Children elicited an IgG-dominant vaccine-induced immune response, surpassing adults at a matched 100-μg dose but more variable immunity at a 50-μg dose. Irrespective of titer, children generated antibodies with enhanced Fc receptor binding capacity. Moreover, like adults, children generated cross-VOC humoral immunity, marked by a decline of omicron-specific receptor binding domain, but robustly preserved omicron spike protein binding. Fc receptor binding capabilities were also preserved in a dose-dependent manner. These data indicate that both the 50- and 100-μg doses of mRNA vaccination in children elicit robust cross-VOC antibody responses and that 100-μg doses in children result in highly preserved omicron-specific functional humoral immunity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereabn9237
JournalScience Translational Medicine
Issue number672
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2022
Externally publishedYes

Field of Science*

  • 3.2 Clinical medicine
  • 3.3 Health sciences

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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