Oxford University testing COVID-19 vaccine in children
The University of Oxford plans to test its COVID-19 vaccine in children for the first time, becoming the latest vaccine developer to assess whether its coronavirus shot is effective in young people. The trial announced on Saturday seeks to recruit 300 volunteers between the ages of 6 and 17, with up to 240 receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and the remainder a control meningitis vaccine.
Most children don't get severely ill from COVID-19: Chief Researcher
Andrew Pollard, Chief Researcher on the Oxford vaccine trial, said, "While most children don't get severely ill from COVID-19, it is important to establish the safety and immune response to the vaccine in children and young people as some children may benefit from vaccination.''
Trial will help decide whether to extend vaccination to children
Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized in more than 50 countries to be used in people over the age of 18 years. Pollard said, "The Oxford trial should help policymakers to decide whether in future they want to extend mass vaccination programs to children as they seek to ensure schools are safe and combat the spread of the virus in the wider population."
We are trying to establish the data: Pollard
"For most children, for themselves, COVID-19 is really not a big problem,'' Pollard told The Associated Press. "However, it is certainly possible that wider use to try and curb the progress of the pandemic might be considered in the future, so here we're just trying to establish the data that would support that if indeed policymakers wanted to go in that direction," he added.
Which other companies are testing vaccines in children?
Pfizer, whose vaccine has already been authorized for use in people 16 and older, began testing its shot in children as young as 12 in October. Moderna in December began testing its vaccine on children as young as 12.