UK regulator approves Moderna COVID-19 shot for 12 to 17-year-olds

·2-min read
People shield from the rain outside of a COVID-19 vaccination centre amid the spread of the coronavirus disease pandemic, London

By Yadarisa Shabong and Manas Mishra

(Reuters) -The UK's health regulator has approved Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine for use in children aged 12 to 17 years, it said on Tuesday, weeks after Pfizer's shot was given the green light for deployment ahead of schools reopening.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has confirmed the vaccine, known as Spikevax, is safe and effective in this age group, it said.

While most children develop mild or no symptoms with COVID-19, they are still able to spread the virus and some remain at risk of becoming seriously ill.

Moderna's vaccine was recommended for use in adolescents by European regulators in July and is awaiting U.S. authorisation. It is already approved for people over the age of 18 in the UK.

Britain's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) gave the go ahead on Aug. 4 for 16 and 17-year-olds to get their first dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine ahead of the reopening of schools for the new education year in September.

JCVI will make a decision on whether 12-17 year olds should be vaccinated with the shot made by Moderna as part of its deployment programme.

The MHRA said it did not identify any new side effects with the vaccine and that the safety data was comparable with that for young adults, with adverse events being mostly mild and moderate and including sore arms or fatigue.

The highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus has become the dominant type globally, sustaining a pandemic that has killed over 130,000 in Britain.

The vaccine, developed by Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech's, got MHRA's nod for use in children aged 12 to 15 on June 4.

(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong and Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Bernadette Baum)

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