COVID-19 vaccine trials for children: Oxford researchers begin recruitment

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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One of the most merited coronavirus vaccines across the globe, the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine will be soon tested for safety and immune response on children, making it one of the only widely used vaccines to do so. 

The Oxford vaccine is the latest in a niche group of vaccine developers including Moderna and Pfizer who are either enrolling or are already conducting COVID-19 vaccine trials on people who have not reached their legal age of adulthood.

In its statement to the media, the University of Oxford stated that a new mid-stage trial, conducted among an age group of 6 – 17 years will decide whether the much anticipated COVID-19 jab will be effective among non-adults.

The Study

Researchers are expecting to soon enroll 300 volunteers within the 6 – 17 years age group to take part in a year-long trial which will see 80 percent of the trial members administered with COVID-19 vaccine while the rest getting a control meningitis vaccine.

Speaking about the trials, Prof. Andrew Pollard, the chief trial researcher for Oxford stated that “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. The researcher also pointed out that children are least likely to experience severe effects of the disease.

“For most children, for themselves, COVID is really not a big problem […] 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,” Prof. Pollard remarked.

Results from the study will give a much-needed boost to the prospect of children, the lesser affected but one of the most aggressive carrier age groups of COVID-19 be vaccinated.