The British medical regulator has approved the use of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine for children aged between six and 11.
The government announced on Thursday that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had updated its advice about the “Spikevax” jab.
Dr. June Raine, the MHRA’s boss, said: “I am pleased to confirm that that the Covid-19 vaccine made by Moderna, ‘Spikevax’, has now been authorized in Great Britain in 6 to 11-year-olds. The vaccine is safe and effective in this age group.”
“It is for the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to advise in due course on whether six to 11s should be offered vaccination with the Covid-19 vaccine made by Moderna as part of the deployment program,” she added.
Spikevax has been authorized in children aged six to 11 in Northern Ireland since March under a directive issued by the European Medicines Agency.
The MHRA expanded its advice about the Moderna vaccine on the same day that it gave the green light for a jab made by the French biotech firm Valneva. This is the sixth vaccine that has now been approved in Britain.
“With this type of vaccine, the virus is grown in a lab and then made completely inactive so that it cannot infect cells or replicate in the body but can still trigger an immune response to the Covid-19 virus,” the regulator said.
“This process is widely used already in the production of flu and polio vaccines.”
Coronavirus rates in the UK are slightly lower than they were last month. Some 4.4 million people were estimated to have Covid-19 in the week to 9 April, down from a high of 4.9 million.