Coronavirus Vaccine: What About Tests for Kids? | #coronavirus | #kids. | #children

Photographer: Akos Stiller/Bloomberg

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There are many questions surrounding children’s role in the coronavirus pandemic but one thing is clear: they’ll need a vaccine, just like adults.

That means injecting dozens of kids with an experimental product — a prospect that makes many parents nervous. The University of Oxford and AstraZeneca Plc plan to start testing their jab in 5- to 12-year-olds as schools and nurseries reopen in the U.K.

Children appear to be less affected by Covid-19, though their role in transmission of the virus remains unclear. A vaccine would protect them and ensure they don’t infect others who are more at risk, like teachers or grandparents. But the pandemic has struck at a time of growing defiance against mass immunizations.

“These are of course very personal decisions, but everybody needs to ask themselves: Would I want the vaccine for my child later on, when other people have contributed to making it safe?” said Beate Kampmann, professor of pediatric infection and immunity and director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine’s vaccine center. “We have to be grateful to people who have taken that little bit of a punt.”

Kids were excluded from Oxford’s early research efforts. Their experimental jab, a front-runner in the global race to develop a vaccine, was tried on adults first, showing only transient side effects such as a temperature and a sore arm. When it moves into the more advanced stages of research in June, it will be administered to as many as 10,260 people, some of them children.

Schools Reopen

A spokesman for the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine team said more information on the child portion of the trial will be available when the group starts recruiting patients in the coming weeks. He declined to comment further.

As schools and nurseries move to restart in several countries, the U.K. government’s committee of scientific advisers says there is “substantial uncertainty” about the impact on the pandemic. There is some evidence that children don’t contract the virus as easily as adults and suffer milder symptoms. Only a handful of deaths in children under 15 have been linked to the disease in Britain, compared with more than 38,000 fatalities for grownups.

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