Evaluation of mRNA-1273 SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine in Adolescents

N Engl J Med. 2021 Dec 9;385(24):2241-2251. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2109522. Epub 2021 Aug 11.


Background: The incidence of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) among adolescents between 12 and 17 years of age was approximately 900 per 100,000 population from April 1 through June 11, 2021. The safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy of the mRNA-1273 vaccine in adolescents are unknown.

Methods: In this ongoing phase 2-3, placebo-controlled trial, we randomly assigned healthy adolescents (12 to 17 years of age) in a 2:1 ratio to receive two injections of the mRNA-1273 vaccine (100 μg in each) or placebo, administered 28 days apart. The primary objectives were evaluation of the safety of mRNA-1273 in adolescents and the noninferiority of the immune response in adolescents as compared with that in young adults (18 to 25 years of age) in a phase 3 trial. Secondary objectives included the efficacy of mRNA-1273 in preventing Covid-19 or asymptomatic severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection.

Results: A total of 3732 participants were randomly assigned to receive mRNA-1273 (2489 participants) or placebo (1243 participants). In the mRNA-1273 group, the most common solicited adverse reactions after the first or second injections were injection-site pain (in 93.1% and 92.4%, respectively), headache (in 44.6% and 70.2%, respectively), and fatigue (in 47.9% and 67.8%, respectively); in the placebo group, the most common solicited adverse reactions after the first or second injections were injection-site pain (in 34.8% or 30.3%, respectively), headache (in 38.5% and 30.2%, respectively), and fatigue (in 36.6% and 28.9%, respectively). No serious adverse events related to mRNA-1273 or placebo were noted. The geometric mean titer ratio of pseudovirus neutralizing antibody titers in adolescents relative to young adults was 1.08 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.94 to 1.24), and the absolute difference in serologic response was 0.2 percentage points (95% CI, -1.8 to 2.4), which met the noninferiority criterion. No cases of Covid-19 with an onset of 14 days after the second injection were reported in the mRNA-1273 group, and four cases occurred in the placebo group.

Conclusions: The mRNA-1273 vaccine had an acceptable safety profile in adolescents. The immune response was similar to that in young adults, and the vaccine was efficacious in preventing Covid-19. (Funded by Moderna and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority; Teen COVE ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT04649151.).

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 2019-nCoV Vaccine mRNA-1273* / administration & dosage
  • 2019-nCoV Vaccine mRNA-1273* / adverse effects
  • 2019-nCoV Vaccine mRNA-1273* / immunology
  • Adolescent
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / blood*
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunogenicity, Vaccine*
  • Male
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Vaccine Efficacy


  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • 2019-nCoV Vaccine mRNA-1273

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT04649151