BOSTON (CBS) – Moderna is looking for help testing its COVID-19 vaccine on children.

The vaccines currently available to combat the coronavirus have not yet been cleared for use in younger children. The Pfizer vaccine can be given to adolescents 16 and older. The Moderna vaccine is only available for adults 18 and older.

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So, what about kids? In early February, UMass Medical School researchers say they will begin enrolling kids ages 12 to 17 in a clinical trial to test Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. The goal is to test its safety, to see whether it generates the same level of immune response in teens as it does in adults, and to determine whether it prevents illness or infection.

They’re hoping to enroll children from diverse communities, especially those that have been affected the greatest by COVID-19.

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“It’s also important because we can’t just extrapolate data from adults to kids,” said UMass Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga. “Kids often respond to vaccines a little bit differently than adults so this particular trial has been designed and will be implemented to answer the question of whether it can be used safely and effectively in teenagers.”

UMass will be just one site involved in the trial. Moderna hopes to eventually enroll 3,000 pediatric volunteers at up to 15 sites nationwide.

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To find out whether your teen is eligible, visit

Dr. Mallika Marshall