AstraZeneca/Oxford to trial COVID-19 vaccine in children

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pic:getty/coscaron
Pic:getty/coscaron

Related tags: Astrazeneca, COVID-19 vaccine

A new trial for the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine will investigate the efficacy of the vaccine in children aged six and over.

The trial will be the first to look at children’s responses to the vaccine: with other trials to date using 12-years-old as the minimum age.

The AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, which is being rolled out across the UK and Europe, is currently authorized for adults aged 18+.

Launched on Friday, the new single-blind, randomised phase II trial hopes to start its first vaccinations this month. It will enrol 300 volunteers aged 6-17 years old. Up to 240 of these will receive the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine, and the remainder a control meningitis vaccine.

Andrew Pollard, Professor of Paediatric Infection and Immunity, and Chief Investigator on the Oxford vaccine trial, said: "While most children are relatively unaffected by coronavirus and are unlikely to become unwell with the infection, 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.

"These new trials will extend our understanding of control of SARS-CoV2 to younger age groups."

The trial is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and AstraZeneca. It will be carried out across four sites in Oxford, London, Bristol and Southampton.

A larger trial involving thousands of children is expected to follow in the US, according to Bloomberg.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca trial is testing the vaccine on the youngest age group yet. Moderna has started a trial (‘TeenCove’) with adolescents aged 12-18​.  Pfizer, meanwhile, is due to start a trial also including ages 12+ in the US next week, according to the NCT database.

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