Covid-19 vaccines are expected to be tested on six-year-old children and “even on newborns and pregnant women” as trials become more widespread.
AstraZeneca, which produces the Oxford covid-19 vaccine, says it is expanding trials to children as young as six. The Mail on Sunday reveals that fellow vaccine maker Janssen, part of Johnson and Johnson, is now considering testing newborns and even pregnant women.
The UK has ordered 30 million doses of the Janssen vaccine and deliveries are expected to arrive in the second half of this year if the vaccine is approved by regulators.
Initially, the trials will be extended to adolescents.
If the injection is effective in them, it will gradually be tested on increasingly younger children.
Hanneke Schuitemaker, who leads the discovery of the viral vaccine at Janssen, said discussions have started to endorse studies on the effects of the vaccine on 16 and 17 year olds and then “we will go further up to 12 year olds, but even newborns at some point if all goes well ”.
AstraZeneca said a trial will start this month on 300 volunteers aged 6 to 17 in Oxford, London, Southampton and Bristol.
Professor Andrew Pollard, head of the Oxford vaccination service, said:
“It is important to establish the safety and immune response to the vaccine in children and young people, as some children could benefit from it.” A licensed vaccine for children could be available by the end of the year.