Drugmakers begin testing COVID-19 vaccines in children

Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca, along with its partner the University of Oxford in England, have all begun clinical trials testing their COVID-19 vaccines in children, Bloomberg reported. 

Pfizer and Moderna say they could have data from their trials by summer. AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford are planning to start testing their vaccine in children 12 to 18 year old next month, according to Bloomberg

Johnson & Johnson expects trials for children to start four to six weeks after it gets results from its adult trials, expected in early February. 

Pfizer's adolescent trial has finished enrollment and will test the vaccine in 2,000 volunteers ages 12 to 15, Bloomberg reported. The trial will be at Louisiana State University Health Shreveport. 

Moderna began giving its vaccine to children in December and plans to have initial data in time for possible approval before the 2021 school year, according to Bloomberg. The drugmaker will test its vaccine in 3,000 children ages 12 to 18. 

Moncef Slaoui, formerly the head of Operation Warp Speed, the government's initiative to speed COVID-19 drug and vaccine development and distribution, told Bloomberg that Moderna has struggled with enrollment in its adolescent trial. It took four weeks to recruit 800 children, he said. 

A Moderna spokesperson told Bloomberg that enrollment was lower over the holiday season, and they expect it to pick up soon. They're on track to have data around the middle of the year, the spokesperson added. 

The University of Oxford plans to recruit about 120 children in both the 12-to-18 and 6-to-11 age groups, according to Bloomberg. AstraZeneca will run a larger trial in the U.S. 

"The main rationale for vaccinating children, given that they’re relatively unaffected, would be to try and have an impact on transmission of the virus," Andrew Pollard, lead investigator on the University of Oxford trials, told Bloomberg

Children over the age of 12 will receive the same vaccine dosage as adults in Pfizer, Moderna and the University of Oxford's trials. 

Read the full article here.

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