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Photo: Marcos del Mazo/LightRocket via Getty Images

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Friday recommended the authorization of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine for children between the ages of 12 and 17.

Why it matters: This is the first time that Moderna's shot has been approved for teens. Until now, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was the only option for children in Europe.

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not extended the use of Moderna's vaccine to children under 16. The Pfizer vaccine remains the only available option for that age group in the U.S.

Details: The EMA said that the use of the vaccine in children will be the same as in people over 18, adding that the shot "produced a comparable antibody response in 12- to 17-year-olds to that seen in young adults aged 18 to 25 years."

  • The agency cited a study that involved 3,732 children. None of the 2,163 children who received the vaccine developed COVID-19, whereas four out of the 1,073 who received a "dummy injection" contracted the disease.
  • The side effects detected in children were similar to those seen in older people. However, the EMA noted that due to the small number of participants in the study, the trial could not have detected any new or uncommon side effects, such as myocarditis and pericarditis.

What they're saying: "[T]he overall safety profile of Spikevax determined in adults was confirmed in the adolescent study; the CHMP [Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use] therefore considered that the benefits of Spikevax [the Moderna vaccine] in children aged 12 to 17 outweigh the risks," the EMA said.

Go deeper

20 hours ago - Health

Illinois mandates daycare workers to receive COVID vaccine or weekly testing

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks during a round table discussion with high school students in October 2018. Photo: Joshua Lott/Getty Images

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced Friday that all daycare workers in the state will be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or or submit to weekly testing.

Driving the news: Pritzker said he was issuing the requirement to protect "babies, toddlers, and young children not yet eligible for the vaccine."

Oct 22, 2021 - Health

Pfizer says COVID vaccine over 90% effective in kids

Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech said their COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective at protecting children between the ages of 5 and 11 from symptomatic infections from the virus, according to a study posted online by the FDA Friday.

Why it matters: Pfizer is seeking an emergency use authorization to vaccinate children — one of the last groups of Americans still largely ineligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine.

23 hours ago - Health

CDC director: U.S. may change definition of "fully vaccinated" as boosters roll out

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Friday the U.S. "may need to update" its definition for what it means to have full vaccination against COVID.

The big picture: The CDC and the FDA have officially approved boosters with every authorized vaccine in the U.S. for people who meet specific requirements. Walensky explained that since not everyone is eligible for a booster, the definition has not been changed "yet."