Moderna Covid vaccine is the first to be tested on babies and young children

By Sarah Wilson
Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 11:48 am
Updated Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 11:48 am
The trial will be the first to test a coronavirus vaccine on infants (Photo: Shutterstock)
The trial will be the first to test a coronavirus vaccine on infants (Photo: Shutterstock)

US Covid vaccine manufacturer, Moderna, is to begin trialling its coronavirus vaccine on infants and children.

The trial - to be run in the US and Canada - will enrol 6,750 children aged six months to 11 years old for inoculation with the Moderna vaccine. It will mark the first time a coronavirus vaccine has been trialled on infants.

Moderna and Pfizer began testing on children over the age of 12 last year, though results from these trials are still pending. AstraZeneca announced announced a first trial on children last month.

Johnson & Johnson, meanwhile, has said it will test its Covid vaccine on infants and children but hasn't yet indicated when this may take place.

Children are one of the least affected groups when it comes to coronavirus, but it is known that younger age groups - especially teenagers - can spread the virus.

This means that inoculation of children may be essential to achieve the level of herd immunity needed to stop the virus spreading widely among the population.

"This paediatric study will help us assess the potential safety and immunogenicity of our Covid-19 vaccine in this younger age population," Stéphane Bancel, Moderna CEO said.

Will kids in the UK get a Covid vaccine?

Currently, the UK has not relayed any plans to vaccinate children, who have not been included on the vaccine priority list.

This is because there is insufficient evidence to suggest how effective vaccines may be in younger age groups, with initial trials of all available vaccines focused on adults.

Children are also very low risk when it comes to the virus, being much less likely to get seriously ill when compared to older age groups. This doesn't mean, however, that children will be permanently excluded from vaccinations.

Depending on the evidence that emerges from trials of vaccines on children, countries around the world (including the UK) may announce jab plans for younger age groups in due course.