Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
Moderna COVID-19 vaccineReuters

The UK's health regulator on Tuesday approved Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine for use in children aged 12 to 17 years, weeks after Pfizer's shot was given the green light for deployment ahead of schools reopening.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has confirmed the vaccine, known as Spikevax, is safe and effective in this age group, it said, according to the Reuters news agency.

Moderna's vaccine was recommended for use in adolescents by European regulators in July and is awaiting US authorization. It is already approved for people over the age of 18 in the UK.

Britain's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) gave the go ahead on Aug. 4 for 16 and 17-year-olds to get their first dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine ahead of the reopening of schools for the new education year in September.

The MHRA said it did not identify any new side effects with the vaccine and that the safety data was comparable with that for young adults, with adverse events being mostly mild and moderate and including sore arms or fatigue.

Britain recently announced it will offer booster vaccines against COVID-19 to 32 million citizens starting early September.