The UK medical regulator has approved the use of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine in children between the ages of six and 11.
The government announced on Thursday that the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had updated its recommendations on the “Spikevax” vaccine.
dr June Raine, Chief of MHRA, said: “I am delighted to confirm that Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine ‘Spikevax’ has now been approved in the UK for 6 to 11 year olds. The vaccine is safe and effective in this age group.”
“It is for the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) to consider, in due course, whether vaccination with the Covid-19 vaccine manufactured by Moderna should be offered to six to 11 children as part of the outreach program,” she added .
Spikevax has been approved in Northern Ireland since March under a European Medicines Agency guideline for children aged six to eleven.
The MHRA expanded its advice on the Moderna vaccine on the same day it gave the green light for a vaccine from French biotech Valneva. This is the sixth vaccine now to be approved in the UK.
“In this type of vaccine, the virus is grown in a lab and then completely inactivated so it can’t 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 already used extensively in the manufacture of influenza and polio vaccines.”
Coronavirus rates in the UK are slightly lower than last month. It is estimated that about 4.4 million people have Covid-19 in the week ending April 9, down from a peak of 4.9 million.