Moderna Vaccine Highly Effective in Adolescents, Company Says

The U.S., which has a surplus of vaccines, could soon have two options for teens while many countries face shortages.

By Emily Anthes

Moderna said on Tuesday that its coronavirus vaccine, authorized only for use in adults, was powerfully effective in 12- to 17-year-olds. In a clinical trial of the vaccine in adolescents, there were no cases of symptomatic Covid-19 among fully vaccinated teens, the company reported in a news release.

Moderna plans to apply to the Food and Drug Administration in June for authorization to use the vaccine in adolescents. If approved, its vaccine would become the second Covid-19 vaccine available to U.S. adolescents, after federal regulators authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds earlier this month.

The Pfizer shot was initially authorized for use in people 16 and older, while Moderna’s has been available for those 18 and up.

The Moderna results are not a surprise and match what Pfizer reported in its trial of young adolescents. But they add to a growing body of evidence that the vaccines are safe and effective in children.

“We were pretty excited to see the data, and we’re excited to see that the numbers look very good,” said Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Stanford Medicine and chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases.

She added, “People are going to be more comfortable being able to go back to school. They’re going to be able to do more activities socially. I do think it’s going to make a big difference in opening our society back up.”

On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that all public school students in New York City, the largest school system in the United States, would return to in-person learning in the fall. Several other states, including Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts and New Jersey, have also indicated that they will restrict online learning.

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