Coronavirus: Moderna files for authorization to use vaccine in adolescents

Officials with Moderna on Thursday announced that they are seeking emergency use authorization of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17.

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“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,” Moderna’s chief executive officer, Stephane Bancel, said 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.”

Last month, company officials said that a study involving 3,700 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 showed that Moderna’s vaccine triggered the same signs of immune protection in kids as it does in adults. There were no COVID-19 diagnoses in those given two doses of the Moderna vaccine, compared with four cases among kids given placebo shots. The company also said the vaccine appeared to be 93% effective two weeks after the first dose.

>> Related: Coronavirus: Moderna says its vaccine is effective in people 12 to 17 years old

Regulators are expected to grant Moderna’s request, a process which could take about a month, according to CNBC. If they do, it would make the company’s vaccine the second available to young teens in the U.S.

Officials with the Food and Drug Administration last month expanded the emergency use authorization granted to American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German biotechnology company BioNTech to allow the companies to use their vaccine in adolescents aged 12 to 15.

>> Related: FDA authorizes Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine use for children age 12 to 15

As of Wednesday, the last date for which data was available, 172 million Americans, or just under 52% of the population, had received at least one dose of the available COVID-19 vaccines, according to numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The figures include 7.2 million Americans under 18 years of age who have gotten at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot.

About 42% of the population -- 140.9 million people -- have so far been fully vaccinated, including 3.4 million people under 18 years old, according to the CDC.

>> Related: Coronavirus: Half of U.S. adults fully vaccinated, CDC data shows

As of Thursday morning, about 33.4 million COVID-19 cases have been reported across the country, resulting in more than 598,000 deaths, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. Globally, 174.4 million COVID-19 cases have been reported, resulting in 3.7 million deaths.