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Moderna asks FDA to allow its COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 12-17

Moderna's study found its COVID-19 vaccine triggered the same signs of immune protection in kids as it does in adults, and the same mild, temporary side effects.

WASHINGTON — Moderna announced Thursday morning that it has submitted a request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to expand emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine to kids as young as 12.

While much of the world is still struggling to vaccinate adults, the U.S. and Canada authorized another vaccine — the shot made by Pfizer and BioNTech — to be used starting at age 12.

Moderna's vaccine is currently authorized for ages 18 and older but said last month it found its vaccine triggered the same signs of immune protection in kids as it does in adults, and the same mild, temporary side effects.

“We are pleased to announce that we have submitted for an emergency use authorization for our COVID-19 vaccine with the FDA for use in adolescents in the United States,” Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna, said Thursday in a statement. “We are encouraged that the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was highly effective at preventing COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 infection in adolescents. We have already filed for authorization with Health Canada and the European Medicines Agency and we will file with regulatory agencies around the world for this important younger age population. We remain committed to helping to end the COVID-19 pandemic.”

With plenty of vaccine supply in the U.S., younger teens flocked to get Pfizer's shot in the days after FDA opened it to them, part of a push to get as many kids vaccinated as possible before the next school year.

Both Pfizer and Moderna have begun testing in even younger children, from age 11 down to 6-month-old babies. This testing is more complex: Teens receive the same dose as adults, but researchers are testing smaller doses in younger children. Experts hope to see some results in the fall.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.