Background story: FDA authorized Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine for use in adults aged 18 and over in December 2020. The company began trials with teenagers and children earlier this year.
Although teens are less likely to get severe Covid-19 compared to adults, health experts say vaccinating children ages 12-17 is key to fighting the pandemic.
Over 3,700 young people took part in Moderna’s phase II / phase III study. Two thirds of them received the vaccine while one third received a placebo. There were no cases of symptomatic Covid-19 in the vaccinated group starting two weeks after the last shot. There were four cases in the placebo group.
The study also looked at even milder cases of Covid-19 in participants who had only one symptom and a positive molecular test for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Looking at these Covid-19 cases, the vaccine was 93 percent effective after the first of two doses.
The side effects reported were minimal and similar to other vaccinations. Some participants reported pain at the injection site after the first dose, while others had mild to moderate headaches, muscle aches, and feverish cold.
What’s next: Moderna will seek FDA approval as early as next week using his vaccine in his teens. An independent safety oversight body will continue to monitor participants for up to a year after receiving their doses to ensure the safety of the vaccine.