Kids as young as six to receive Oxford coronavirus vaccine in world-first trial
Kids as young as six will be given the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine in a clinical trial to test its efficacy on children.
The study will be carried out by Oxford University on 300 kids from the ages of six to 17, to find out how well it protects them from developing coronavirus.
The university will partner with sites in London, Bristol and Southampton to carry out the study of the UK-developed vaccine.
Up to 240 kids will receive the real vaccine, while the others will receive a control jab for meningitis.
Covid-19 has been known to cause severe illness in some children, but they're largely unaffected by the virus.
Deputy chief medical officer for England Jonathan Van Tam has previously said trials were underway to develop Covid jabs for kids.
He said it was "possible" we'd have licensed coronavirus jabs for kids by the end of the year.
While the Oxford vaccine has been proven to have high efficacy in preventing severe disease in adults, we don't know how effective it is in kids.
Professor Andrew Pollard, chief investigator on the 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."
Rinn Song, paediatrician and clinical scientist at the Oxford Vaccine Group, said: "The Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound negative impact on the education, social development and emotional well-being of children and adolescents, beyond illness and rare severe disease presentations.
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"It is therefore important to collect data on the safety and the immune response to our coronavirus vaccine in these age groups, so that they could potentially benefit from inclusion in vaccination programs in the near future.
Announcement of the trial comes as more than 14 million people in the UK have been jabbed with at least one dose of an approved vaccine.
The government is said to be on target to vaccinate 15 million of the most vulnerable groups with one dose by Monday.
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