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Oxford to test AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on children

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Posted: Saturday, February 13, 2021. 1:06 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Oxford University has announced plans to test its co-developed COVID-19 vaccine on children to determine the safety and immune response of the shot in young people, Deutsche Welle News reports via the Associated Press.  

300 volunteers between 6 and 17 are being sought, of which 240 will receive the vaccine and the others a control meningitis inoculation. According to chief researcher for the vaccine Andrew Pollard, “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.” 

COVID-19 can also cause death or serious illness in children, but the British Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health says this is rare.

Regulators in more than 50 countries have already authorized widespread use of the Oxford vaccine — which is being produced and distributed by AstraZeneca Plc — for people over the age of 18. The two-dose vaccine is cheaper and easier to distribute than some rivals. 

AstraZeneca said it wants to produce 3 billion doses this year and that it aims to produce over 200 million doses per month by April.

Last month, the pharmaceutical giant became embroiled in a row with the European Union over production delays.

In October last year, US drugmaker Pfizer began testing its shot in children as young as 12 while Moderna began trials on children in December.

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