Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine was found to be effective in adolescents aged 12-17 and showed no new or major safety problems in a clinical trial, the developer said on Tuesday, potentially setting the stage for a second vaccine for school-aged children to be authorized in July.
Vaccine-makers are racing to get approval for their COVID-19 shots in younger and younger people.
And on Tuesday, Moderna announced it would be the second firm to seek clearance to use their vaccine in school-age children in the U.S. A clinical trial showed Moderna’s shot was effective in adolescents aged 12-17, with no new or major safety problems. The Moderna vaccine – already authorized for adults aged 18 and up – will now go to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which could grant emergency use authorization as soon as July.
It took U.S. regulators about a month to review and approve the Pfizer/Biontech shot for ages 12-15.
Moderna's trial studied 3,732 adolescents aged 12 to 17.
Two thirds got the vaccine and one third got a placebo.
Two weeks after the second dose, researchers found no cases of COVID-19 in the vaccine group and four cases in the placebo group.
Children rarely develop COVID-19 symptoms. But they remain at risk of falling seriously ill and can still transmit the virus.
Widely vaccinating kids aged 12 and up could allow U.S. schools and summer camps to relax masking and social distancing measures suggested by the CDC.
Moderna is currently testing its vaccine in children as young as 6 months of age.