Moderna said on Tuesday that its COVID-19 vaccine strongly protects children as young as 12, a step that could set the stage for becoming the second option for this age group in the United States.
With global vaccine stocks still tight, much of the world is struggling to immunize adults in their quest to end the pandemic. But earlier this month, the United States and Canada cleared another vaccine – the vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech – for use from the age of 12.
Moderna aims to be next on the list, saying it will submit its data on adolescents to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other global regulators early next month.
The company studied more than 3,700 young people aged 12 to 17. Preliminary results showed that the vaccine caused the same signs of immune protection in children as in adults, and the same type of temporary side effects such as arm pain, headaches and fatigue.
There has been no diagnosis of COVID-19 in people who received two doses of the Moderna vaccine, compared to four cases in children who received dummy injections. In a press release, the company also said the vaccine appeared to be 93% effective two weeks after the first dose.
While children are much less likely than adults to become seriously ill from COVID-19, they account for around 14% of coronavirus cases in the country. At least 316 have died in the United States alone, according to a count from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
With plenty of vaccines in the United States, young teens flocked to get vaccinated by Pfizer in the days after they opened by the FDA, as part of a campaign to get as many children vaccinated as possible before. the next school year.
Pfizer and Moderna have both started testing even younger children, aged 11 to 6 months. This test is more complex: adolescents are given the same dose as adults, but researchers are testing lower doses in young children. Experts hope to see results in the fall.