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Wessex to support Oxford COVID-19 vaccine trial for children & young people

Children and young adults are being invited to take part in the first trial to assess the safety and immune response to the COVID-19 vaccine.

The trial, run by the University of Oxford together with three partner sites in Southampton, London and Bristol, will look at the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, which is already being given to adults by the NHS.

Building on previous trials of the vaccine, which have shown that it is safe, produces strong immune system responses and has high efficacy in all adults, this trial will assess if children and young adults aged 6-17 years make a good immune response with the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine.

In Wessex, the NIHR-funded and supported trial, will recruit children aged 6-11 from the Southampton area. Anyone interested in finding out more or signing up can visit:

This new trial, a single-blind, randomised phase II trial, will enrol 300 volunteers, with up to 240 of these volunteers receiving the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine and the remainder a control meningitis vaccine, which has been shown to be safe in children but is expected to produce similar reactions, such as some soreness at the injection site.

Andrew Pollard, Professor of Paediatric Infection and Immunity, and Chief Investigator on the Oxford vaccine trial, said:

"While most children are relatively unaffected by coronavirus and are unlikely to become unwell with the infection, 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. These new trials will extend our understanding of control of SARS-CoV2 to younger age groups."

Dr William van’t Hoff, Chief Executive of NIHR’s Clinical Research Network, said:

"We’ve already seen the contribution of COVID-19 vaccine research in the UK to protecting adults. I’m delighted the launch of this trial will extend our knowledge of how to protect children and young adults in the future."

The trial launched on 13 February 2021, and first vaccinations are expected during February. The trial is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and AstraZeneca.

People over 18 can sign up to take part in future COVID-19 vaccine trials by visiting the NHS register