May 6 (UPI) -- Moderna announced Thursday that further studies have shown that its COVID-19 vaccine is 96% effective in children between the ages of 12 and 17.
The company noted the findings in its first quarter earnings report, which said the teens experienced no serious side effects after receiving the shots. It noted that normal side effects, such as minor injection site pain, were similar to those in adults.
The 96% efficacy rate was reported in teens who had received at least one shot.
Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine requires two doses given four weeks apart, a similar time frame as the vaccine from Pfizer, which is also mRNA-based.
The company, founded in 2010, also reported the first quarterly profit in its history -- on $1.94 billion in revenue for the first quarter. Most analysts had expected earnings to be in the $2 billion range.
Sales of Moderna's vaccine generated $1.7 billion and the company slightly raised its 2021 sales forecast to $19.2 billion.
"In the first quarter, the Moderna team delivered on its supply commitments to many governments and helped protect more than 100 million people," Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said in a statement.
"This accomplishment translated into our first profitable quarter in the company's history, after 10 years of scientific innovation and several billion dollars invested to make our mRNA platform a reality."
Pfizer has said it made $3.5 billion from its vaccine over the first three months of the year.
The earnings come a day after Moderna said results of preliminary data show that a COVID-19 booster shot has increased immunity against variants first identified in South Africa and Brazil.
The 50-microgram booster dose, which Moderna is still studying, increased neutralizing antibodies against the original virus and both variants, which have since spread to the United States and other countries. Moderna is testing booster shots in previously vaccinated recipients.
The company said a booster shot of another COVID-19 vaccine, which was specifically matched against the South Africa strain, produced even better immune responses compared to its primary vaccine.
Drugmakers have said additional shots may be needed each year, similar to annual flu shots, to protect against variants.
"As we seek to defeat the ongoing pandemic, we remain committed to being proactive as the virus evolves," Bancel said in a statement.
"We are encouraged by these new data, which reinforce our confidence that our booster strategy should be protective against these newly detected variants."