Moderna Inc. says it vaccinated its first patients in a mid-to-final phase clinical study that tests its experimental COVID vaccine in adolescents aged 12 year to under 18 years.

The company hopes for data to be available ahead of the 2021 school, The Week reported Friday.

Moderna had said a third-phase test showed its potential COVID vaccine was nearly 95 percent effective in adults and that it had applied for an emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Moderna is one of two pharmaceutical companies that applied for the FDA go ahead for a COVID vaccine - the other being Pfizer.

The study involves 3,000 healthy adults in the U.S. and will evaluate the safety and effectiveness of two doses of Moderna's experimental vaccine administered 28 days apart.

"We hope to be able to provide a safe vaccine to provide protection to adolescents so they can return to school in a normal setting," Benzinga quoted chief executive Stéphane Bancel saying.

The study is in cooperation with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a unit of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Competitor Pfizer is studying its treatment in participants as young as 12.

Moderna's vaccine will be one of the topics at another FDA's vaccine panel meeting Dec. 17 which could set the stage for approval on an emergency basis. The European Medicines Agency has set a Jan. 12 deadline for issuing a decision.

Moderna wants to help U.S. states keep schools open next year by conducting a clinical test that will randomize adolescents to be given either a dose used in the adult final phase trials or a placebo.

Shares of the Massachusetts-based biotech company closed at 155.69 - down 0.57 percent Thursday.