announced on Tuesday that its COVID-19 vaccine
provides strong protection for children
as young as 12, putting the vaccine on track to become the second option for that age group in the United States
With global vaccine supplies still limited, much of the world is struggling to vaccinate adults in the fight to end the pandemic
. However, earlier this month, the United States and Canada
authorized the use of another vaccine — the Pfizer
shot — beginning at the age of 12.
Moderna plans to be the first in line, submitting its teen data to the US Food
and Drug Administration and other global regulators early next month.
The company studied over 3,700 12- to 17-year-olds, and preliminary results showed that the vaccine induced the same signs of immune protection in children as it does in adults, as well as the same type of temporary side effects such as sore arms, headache, and fatigue.
There were no COVID-19 diagnoses in children who received two doses of the Moderna vaccine, compared to four cases in children who received dummy shots, according to a press release from the company.
While children are far less likely than adults to become seriously ill from COVID-19, they account for approximately 14% of all coronavirus
cases in the United States, with at least 316 deaths, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
With plenty of vaccine supply in the United States, younger teens
flocked to get Pfizer's shot in the days after the FDA made it available to them, as part of a push to get as many kids vaccinated as possible before the next school year.
Both Pfizer and Moderna have begun testing in even younger children, ranging in age from 11 to 6-month-old babies. This testing is more complex: Teens receive the same dose as adults, but researchers are testing smaller doses in younger children. Experts hope to see results in the fall.
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education
provides funding to the Associated Press
Health and Science Department, but the AP is solely responsible for all content.
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