Children Participate In New Trials For Oxford-AstraZeneca Vaccine

Children have been taking part in the new trails for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to test whether the vaccine is safe and effective for those under the age of 18. 

Around 300 children under the age of 18 are taking part in this study as the vaccine is currently only authorised for those who are over 18. 

These trials will determine whether the vaccine is able to produce a strong immune response in children aged between 6 and 17. 

240 children will receive the vaccine while the rest will receive a control meningitis injection. 

Volunteers who live close to one of the four study sites, namely: the University of Oxford, St George's University Hospital, London, University Hospital Southampton and Bristol Royal Hospital for Children were asked to sign up and many have been eager to take part in this research. 

Children are relatively unaffected by Covid-19 and are unlikely to become unwell due to the virus, however Professor of Paediatric Infection and Immunity, and Chief Investigator on the Oxford vaccine trial, Andrew Pollard says that it is important to establish the safety and immune response to the vaccine in children. This is because some children might benefit from this vaccination. 

It may also help to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. 

"It may be rather similar to the influenza situation where with the influenza programme we vaccinate children both to protect them but also because that reduces transmission in the wider population to ensure that all of us are protected against the virus," said Professor Pollard. 

The results of this vaccine trial may be known by as early as June 2021. 

In UK there are currently no plans for children to be vaccinated with the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine as it has only been authorised to prevent Covid-19 in people who are 18 years old or older. 

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is only authorised in people aged over 16 and the vaccine priority list in the UK does not include anyone under the age of 16, even those who are vulnerable to the virus. 

England's deputy chief medical officer, Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, told ITV News that several trials were underway to develop vaccines which are safe and effective in children and he says that there's a possibility that there could be licensed children's vaccines by the end of the year. 


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