Moderna is asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12-17, the company said Thursday.
Moderna’s vaccine is currently authorized for adults 18 and up. It requires two doses spaced four weeks apart to reach full efficacy.
Moderna cited a study from last month demonstrating the vaccine as 100% effective for the younger age segment. The study, made public on May 25, recruited 3,732 youngsters ages 12-17. No one who received two doses of the vaccine got COVID, while the placebo group had four cases.
If cleared, Moderna’s vaccine would become the second available to Americans under 18. On May 10, the FDA OKed the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for adolescents 12 and up.
Speedy clearance could help kids get vaccinated before school kicks off this fall, when many are expected to return to campus for in-person learning.
Vaccinating children is also seen as a critical next step in ending the coronavirus pandemic for good. Per government data, children comprise 20% of the U.S. population, and according to medical experts, roughly 70% to 85% of the population must be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity. Currently, 43% of Americans are fully inoculated.
Moderna said that in addition to the FDA, it has filed for authorization with Health Canada and the European Medicines Agency.