UK approves Moderna's Covid jab for 12 to 17-year-olds

UK approves Moderna’s Covid vaccine for 12 to 17-year-olds after medical watchdog rules jab is safe in children

  • Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency review found jab is safe
  • Moderna becomes second Covid vaccine to be approved for Brit kids after Pfizer
  • Britons aged 16 and 17 do not need permission from parent to get vaccinated

Moderna’s Covid vaccine has been approved for children aged 12 to 17, the UK’s medical watchdog has said.

A review by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) found the jab was safe and effective in this age group.

It becomes the second coronavirus vaccine to be approved for British children after Pfizer’s, which uses the same technology, was green-lit in June.   

All 16 and 17-year-olds are being invited for the Pfizer vaccine and do not need permission from a parent or guardian to get one.

But only under-16s who live with very vulnerable people or who have immune weaknesses themselves are being invited. 

Moderna’s vaccine is expected to be rolled out in the 12 to 17 age groups in similar fashion.

The Department of Health has asked its vaccine advisory panel, which is separate from the MHRA, for a formal recommendation.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has stopped short of recommending vaccines be rolled out to all over-12s.

It has said that children are at such a low risk from Covid and long Covid that the tiny risk of heart problems after vaccination outweighs the benefit. 

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

‘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.’

A spokesperson for the department 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 (JCVI) 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.’

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