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Moderna Says COVID Vaccine Was 100% Effective In Teen Study

CAMBRIDGE (CBS/AP) -- Moderna announced Tuesday that its COVID vaccine was 100% effective in a study of adolescents aged 12 to 17 in the United States. Not a single teen who received two doses of the vaccine came down with the coronavirus, the Cambridge-based biotech company said.

The TeenCOVE study involved over 3,700 young participants. The vaccine was also found to be 93% effective after just one dose. There were four COVID cases in a placebo group.

In addition, there were "no significant safety concerns identified," and side effects were similar to those seen in adults.

Moderna expects to submit its data to regulators in early June.

"We are encouraged that mRNA-1273 was highly effective at preventing COVID-19 in adolescents. It is particularly exciting to see that the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine can prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection," said Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel in a statement. "We will submit these results to the U.S. FDA and regulators globally in early June and request authorization. We remain committed to doing our part to help end the COVID-19 pandemic."

Jordan Frank's 13-year-old daughter Zoey is one of the teens taking part in the TeenCove study.

"She's feeling positive about contributing to the whole process," Jordan Frank said.

The family was happy to see Moderna's report about the vaccine being 100% effective on kids ages 12-17.

"It was both relieving to know that we were able to contribute and excellent to know that the results were positive and obviously it's been worthwhile," Frank said.

The news was also well-received in the medical community.

"I think it's exciting," said Mass General Brigham's Dr. Paul Biddinger, who chairs Gov. Charlie Baker's vaccine advisory group. "It's another step toward fully vaccinating our population."

Earlier this month, the U.S. and Canada authorized another vaccine — the shot made by Pfizer and BioNTech — to be used starting at age 12.

While children are far less likely than adults to get seriously ill from COVID-19, they represent about 14% of the nation's coronavirus cases. At least 316 have died in the U.S. alone, according to a tally by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

"Really what we need for all of us to be safe is to drive down the prevalence of disease in the community," Biddinger said. "These are safe and effective vaccines. . . the data that we are monitoring about the safety, about the effectiveness of the vaccines is just extraordinary."

Both Pfizer and Moderna have begun testing in even younger children, from age 11 down to 6-month-old babies. This testing is more complex: Teens receive the same dose as adults, but researchers are testing smaller doses in younger children. Experts hope to see some results in the fall.

"We are ahead of schedule on releasing these vaccines," Tufts Medical Center Dr. Shira Doron said. "We may stay ahead of schedule and ultimately we are bringing cases down to an extent that I'm not sure we ever really believed would be possible."

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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