The Moderna coronavirus vaccine has been approved for use in children aged 12 and over by the UK medical watchdog.
It is the second Covid-19 jab authorised for those aged between 12 and 17, after the Pfizer vaccine.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (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 Moderna jab.
The vaccine is safe and effective in this age group
Dr June Raine
The MHRA said that the jab – also known as the Spikevax vaccine – is “safe and effective in this age group”.
At present, some children aged 12 to 15 are only offered the Pfizer Covid-19 jab if they are considered to be clinically vulnerable.
This week it was announced that all 16 and 17-year-olds in England will be offered the chance to book in for their first jab before August 23.
Dr June Raine, MHRA chief executive, 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.”
Today we can confirm that we have authorised the COVID-19 vaccine made by Moderna in 12-17 year olds.
The vaccine is safe and effective in this age group.
Find out more: https://t.co/IckJ0bRjnz#COVID19 #Moderna #Spikevax pic.twitter.com/wGGym8DTPA
— MHRAgovuk (@MHRAgovuk) August 17, 2021
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 much speculation as to whether the vaccination programme will be extended to include all children aged 12 and over.
Other countries have successfully been vaccinating children for some time, but the UK has taken a more cautious approach to routinely offering the jab to younger children.
As has been the case with all other approvals, we will now be guided by the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation
Department for Health and Social Care
Vaccination experts have said that they will await more data before issuing advice to ministers.
Officials have only recently confirmed that 16 and 17-year-olds will be able to get the Pfizer vaccine.
The target of a first dose by August 23 will mean that they have built up some level of protection before the school year starts in September.
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.