Moderna vaccine approved for people aged between 12 and 17

17 August 2021, 15:34

The Moderna vaccine has been approved for children over the age of 12.
The Moderna vaccine has been approved for children over the age of 12. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

The Moderna coronavirus vaccine has been approved for use in children aged 12 and over by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

It is the second Covid-19 jab authorised for those aged between 12 and 17, after the Pfizer vaccine.

The MHRA said that it is up to the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to advise the government on whether children in this age group should be given the jab or not.

They said that the jab - also known as the Spikevax vaccine - is "safe and effective in this age group".

It comes after it was announced this week that all children aged 16 and 17 in England would be offered the chance to book in for their first jab before 23 August.

Some 12 to 15-year-olds are also able to get the Pfizer jab if they are considered clinically vulnerable.

The target date will allow children to build up some level of protection before the school year starts in September.

Read more: All England's 16 and 17-year-olds to be offered jab by 23 August - Sajid Javid

MHRA chief executive, Dr June Raine, said: "I am pleased to confirm that that the Covid-19 vaccine made by Moderna has now been authorised in 12 to 17-year-olds.

"The vaccine is safe and effective in this age group.

"We have in place a comprehensive safety surveillance strategy for monitoring the safety of all UK-approved Covid-19 vaccines and this surveillance will include the 12 to 17-year age group."

The Moderna jab had already been approved for use in children aged 12 and over in Northern Ireland under an extension of the approval from the European Medicines Agency in July.

Read more: Fully vaccinated and under-18s no longer need to isolate if in contact with Covid case

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: "We welcome the news that Moderna's vaccine has been approved as safe and effective for people aged 12 and over.

"As has been the case with all other approvals, we will now be guided by the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation and have asked for its formal recommendation on whether to administer this vaccine to people aged 12 to 17.

"All young people aged 16 to 17, clinically vulnerable children aged 12 to 15 and people who live with adults who are immunosuppressed will be offered a first dose of a Pfizer jab by Monday 23 August."

There has been ongoing speculation as to whether vaccines will be extended to include all children aged 12 and over, with experts suggesting they will await more data before issuing advice to ministers.

The UK has taken a more cautious approach to routinely offering the jab to younger children compared to other countries, which have successfully been vaccinating children for some time.