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Moderna asks to use its COVID vaccines on Europe's teenagers

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By Euronews
A health worker fills a syringe with Moderna COVID-19 vaccine before administering it at the Chester County Government Services Center in West Chester, Pa., on Dec. 29, 2020.
A health worker fills a syringe with Moderna COVID-19 vaccine before administering it at the Chester County Government Services Center in West Chester, Pa., on Dec. 29, 2020.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Matt Slocum

Moderna announced on Monday that it has asked the European watchdog to approve the use of its COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents.

The American pharmaceutical company said that Phase 2/3 trials involving nearly 2,500 adolescents found that the vaccine efficacy "was observed to be 100%".

"We are encouraged that the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was highly effective at preventing COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 infection in adolescents," CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a statement.

Moderna has submitted a similar request to Canadian authorities and added that it will also request approval from the United States's Food and Drug Administration as well as "regulatory agencies around the world for this important younger age population."

So far the European Medicines Agency has approved four vaccines for use in people aged over 16 across the European Union. These are Pfizer/BioNtech, AstraZeneca/Oxford University, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.

The Pfizer jab was also approved on May 28 for use for 12-15-year-olds.

Vaccination for teens over the age of 12 has already started in the US. The French government has already announced that vaccination for people aged 12-18 will open on June 15 on a voluntary basis and with parent's approval.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has however criticised this approach, calling on rich countries that have so far received the bulk of vaccine doses to donate more of them so that priority groups in low- and middle-income countries can be inoculated.