Covid vaccines are set to be tested on 'newborns and pregnant women'

Covid vaccines are set to be tested on six-year-old children and ‘even newborns and pregnant women’ as trials are expanded

  • AstraZeneca, which produces the Oxford vaccine, says it is expanding trials
  • Fellow vaccine maker Janssen said it is looking into testing on newborn babies
  • AstraZeneca said a trial will begin this month on 300 volunteers aged six to 17 

Covid-19 vaccines are set to be tested on children and potentially even newborns.

AstraZeneca, which produces the Oxford vaccine, says it is expanding trials to children as young as six, and The Mail on Sunday can reveal that fellow vaccine maker Janssen, part of Johnson and Johnson, is now looking into testing on newborn babies and even pregnant women.

Janssen last month revealed trials in adults showed its single-dose Covid vaccine is 66 per cent effective in preventing coronavirus. 

AstraZeneca, which produces the Oxford vaccine, says it is expanding trials to children as young as six

The UK has ordered 30 million doses of the Janssen jabs and deliveries are expected to arrive in the second half of this year if the vaccine is approved by regulators.

It will initially extend trials to teenagers. 

If the jab is effective in them, it will gradually test it on younger and younger children.

Hanneke Schuitemaker, who is head of viral vaccine discovery at Janssen, said discussions had begun to approve studies into the vaccine’s effects on 16 and 17-year-olds and after that ‘we will go further down to 12-year-olds but even to newborns at a certain point if all goes well’. 

The UK has ordered 30 million doses of the Janssen jabs and deliveries are expected to arrive in the second half of this year if the vaccine is approved by regulators

The trials are likely to take place in the US and Canada.

AstraZeneca said a trial will begin this month on 300 volunteers aged six to 17 in Oxford, London, Southampton and Bristol.

Oxford vaccine chief Professor Andrew Pollard said: ‘It is important to establish the safety and immune response to the vaccine in children and young people as some children may benefit.’ 

A licensed jab for children could be available by the end of the year.

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