Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) chief executive Dr June Raine said the jab, also known as the Spikevax vaccine, is safer and effective in this age group.
But the MHRA also said it is now 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.
Before this approval, the Pfizer jab was the only vaccine approved for this age group in the UK.
“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.
“It is for the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to advise on whether this age group should be vaccinated with the Covid-19 vaccine made by Moderna as part of the deployment programme.”
It comes as all teenagers aged 16 and 17 in the UK are to be offered a coronavirus vaccine by August 23 - a date the UK’s health secretary Sajid Javid said will allow the nation’s 1.4 million teenagers to get “vital protection” before returning to sixth form or college two weeks later in September.