Children could receive a coronavirus vaccine from August, a plan leaked to The Telegraph reveals. The ramped up effort is aimed at speeding up herd immunity, whereby the virus is no longer spreading in the population. The government has to hold fire until data from an ongoing child vaccine study by Oxford University confirms its safety and efficacy.
It also expects to run a second trial in children aged 5-11 years.
Pfizer’s chief executive, Albert Bourla, told Reuters in March that he expected younger teens to be eligible for coronavirus vaccination in the autumn and primary school children by the end of the year.
The Oxford research group is also testing its vaccine in children aged 6-17, in a trial funded by the National Institute for Health Research and AstraZeneca. The phase II trial, which began in February, will enrol 300 volunteers.
Up to 240 of these participants will receive the COVID-19 vaccine, while the rest will be given a control meningitis vaccine—being used as it is expected to produce similar reactions, such as soreness at the injection site.