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Moderna’s Covid jab gets green light for use in adolescents from UK health regulator

Moderna’s Covid jab gets green light for use in adolescents from UK health regulator
The UK’s medicines regulator has deemed Moderna’s mRNA coronavirus shot suitable for 12-to-17 year-olds, almost two weeks after the country announced it would start vaccinating its youth population.

On Tuesday, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved Moderna’s Spikevax jab for use in children aged between 12 and 17. Announcing the decision, the agency’s chief executive Dr June Raine said the “vaccine is safe and effective in this age group.”

While Moderna’s mRNA jab has been given the green light by the MHRA, the government advisory body the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation will make the final decision on whether the vaccine will be rolled out for this age group.

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The widening of vaccines available to younger people comes after the committee decided on August 4 to include 16-to-17 year-olds in the UK’s Covid inoculation campaign, ahead of children returning to school in September.

The JCVI recommended administering just one dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s jab “after carefully considering the latest data” that a single shot would “provide good protection against severe illness and hospitalization”. Further advice on a second dose will be made later, it added.

Last month, the European Medicines Agency recommended extending the Spikevax vaccine to children aged 12 to 17 within the EU. The jab is still pending approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for administration in this age group.

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Health authorities in the UK were initially hesitant to offer children a coronavirus vaccine due to reports of rare heart inflammation following the administration of mRNA vaccines. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a statement earlier this summer detailing that there were over a thousand incidences of the heart conditions myocarditis and pericarditis, particularly in adolescents and young males, reported from among the more than 177 million doses of the vaccine administered across America.

At present, minors in the UK aged 12 to 15 are only eligible for vaccination against Covid-19 if they are considered to be high risk or live with a family member who falls into this category.

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