The University of Oxford will launch the first study to assess the safety and immune responses in children and young adults of the coronavirus vaccine, the Oxford Vaccine Group announced Saturday.
Andrew Pollard, chief investigator on the Oxford vaccine trial, said in a statement: “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.”
Children as young as six will be given the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and the first vaccinations are expected to begin this month at Oxford University and its partner sites in London, Southampton and Bristol, according to the statement.
Researchers will enroll 300 volunteers to assess whether the coronavirus vaccine will produce a strong immune response in children aged between six and 17.
The Oxford vaccine is one of the three which have been approved for use in adults in Britain, along with those from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.
Britain is stepping up efforts to speed up vaccine rollout to bring the pandemic under control.
More than 14 million people in Britain have been given the first jab of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the latest official figures.
Britain aims to complete the vaccination of the top priority groups, which cover 15 million people, by mid-February.
Downing Street has confirmed that all British adults aged 50 and older are expected to be offered a first dose of the coronavirus vaccine by early May. Britain aims to offer all adults their first dose by autumn.
England is currently under the third national lockdown since outbreak of the pandemic in the country. Similar restriction measures are also in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he will set out more details on the roadmap for exiting lockdown restrictions in the week of Feb. 22.
To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States have been racing against time to roll out coronavirus vaccines.