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First children’s COVID-19 vaccine trial open

Published: 15 February 2021

Children and young adults are being invited to take part in the first study to assess the safety and immune response to the COVID-19 vaccine. The study, funded and supported by NIHR, will be run by University of Oxford, together with three partner sites in London, Southampton and Bristol, looking at the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, which is already being given to adults by the NHS.

Building on previous trials of the vaccine, which have shown that it is safe, produces strong immune system responses and has high efficacy in all adults, this trial will assess if children and young adults aged 6-17 years make a good immune response with the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine.

This new trial, a single-blind, randomised phase II trial, will enrol 300 volunteers, with up to 240 of these volunteers receiving the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine and the remainder a control meningitis vaccine, which has been shown to be safe in children but is expected to produce similar reactions, such as some soreness at the injection site.

Dr William van’t Hoff, Chief Executive of NIHR’s Clinical Research Network, said: "We’ve already seen the contribution of COVID-19 vaccine research in the UK to protecting adults. I’m delighted the launch of this trial will extend our knowledge of how to protect children and young adults in the future."

Andrew Pollard, Professor of Paediatric Infection and Immunity, and Chief Investigator on the Oxford vaccine 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. These new trials will extend our understanding of control of SARS-CoV2 to younger age groups."

The trial launched 13 February 2021, and first vaccinations are expected during February. The trial is funded by the NIHR and AstraZeneca.

Find out more on the trial, including on how to sign up.

People over 18 can sign up to take part in other trials on the NHS register.

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