On Thursday, Moderna (MRNA 0.17%) announced it has filed for Emergency Use Authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents from 12 to 18. If the agency gives Moderna a green light, parents will have another vaccine option beyond Pfizer (PFE -0.97%) and BioNTech's (BNTX -2.55%) vaccine, which was approved for ages 12 to 18 in May.

A teenage girl displays here vaccine sticker at a health center while wearing a mask.

Image source: Getty Images.

The coronavirus can be spread easily, and so far, over 174 million cases and 3.7 million deaths have been attributed to the disease worldwide.

Drugmakers including Moderna have developed vaccines to help prevent severe disease, and over the past few months, governments have made significant progress in vaccinating adult populations. For example, over 304 million COVID vaccine doses have been administered in the U.S., with 52% of Americans having received at least one dose.

The vaccination rate in children is lower, with only 23% of Americans under 18 having received at least one dose, but that rate should improve as more vaccines secure FDA approval. The agency expanded emergency use of Pfizer's COVID vaccine to include children over 12 last month, and a meeting of its advisory committee to discuss vaccinating adolescents is happening this week. 

Investigators observed no COVID cases in Moderna's study of patients ages 12 to 18, and safety outcomes were similar to those for adults, suggesting the vaccine could win emergency approval soon.