May 26 (The Verge) – Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine is effective in 12- to 17-year-olds, the company announced today in a press release. It plans to ask the Food and Drug Administration to authorize the shot for this age group in early June.
None of the teens who received two shots of the Moderna vaccine in a clinical trial developed COVID-19, and there were no safety concerns. The trial included 3,732 participants. Two-thirds got the shot, and one-third received placebo injections. There were four cases of COVID-19 in the group that received placebo injections.
The vaccine was 93 percent effective against even mild forms of the disease in this group as early as 14 days after the first dose, the company said.
The Moderna vaccine is currently authorized for people 18 and older. If the FDA allows its use for people as young as 12, it would be the second COVID-19 vaccine available to people under the age of 18. The Pfizer / BioNTech shot was originally authorized for people 16 years and older, and the FDA signed off on its use in kids ages 12 to 15 in May.
Children and teenagers rarely get seriously sick or die from COVID-19, but it does happen in some cases. They can also spread the virus to others if they contract the infection. Having another vaccine available for school-aged teens and adolescents would boost efforts to get them immunized ahead of anticipated in-person school in the fall.
“The more vaccines we have to protect adolescents from COVID-19, the better,” Kristin Oliver, a pediatrician at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, told The New York Times.
Around 5 million people under the age of 18 in the United States have had at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine.