Cambridge-based biotech firm Moderna on Thursday announced it had begun administering its coronavirus vaccine to adolescents as part of the second phase of its trial.
The company said adolescents between 12 and 17 were being given its experimental vaccine in hopes it will prove safe and effective enough to be given to teenagers ahead of the 2021 school year.
“We are encouraged by the interim and primary analyses of the Phase 3 COVE study in adults ages 18 and above and this adolescent study will help us assess the potential safety and immunogenicity of our COVID-19 vaccine candidate in this important younger age population,” Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said.
“We hope we will be able to provide a safe vaccine to provide protection to adolescents so they can return to school in a normal setting.”
Moderna earlier this month said it was planning a clinical trial of its coronavirus vaccine with children ages 12 through 17.
The study will include 3,000 children, according to its listing on clincaltrials.gov, to begin the first step in the process of getting young people vaccinated.
Similar to adults trials, participants would take two doses of the vaccine over a four-week span. Half of the group would receive a placebo.
Moderna is awaiting emergency clearance from the FDA after data confirmed the vaccine is more than 94% effective in preventing COVID-19. Moderna is the second drugmaker to seek emergency use after Pfizer applied for the same authorization on Nov. 20.
Some Americans could get the first doses of Moderna's two-dose vaccine within a few weeks.
The first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines this month will go toward frontline medical workers, and the vaccine could become available to the general public in Massachusetts by mid-April, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Wednesday.
The state’s first shipment of 59,475 doses of the Pfizer vaccine was ordered from the federal government on Friday and will be delivered beginning Dec. 15 directly to 21 hospitals across eight counties, as well as to the state Department of Public Health Immunization lab.