DURBAN – There is still much uncertainty on the children’s role in the transmission of Covid-19; but what is certain is that they will need a vaccine, just like adults.
American physician and immunologist Dr Anthony Fauci believes that a viable vaccine is possibly on its way, it might be out by early 2021 given the number of vaccines that have already begun human trials.
“There is no reason not to believe that a vaccine wouldn’t be available simultaneously for adults and children,” Fauci said.
As the trials on adults for novel coronavirus infection have begun it is believed that studies in children might have to “catch up”.
Children 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.
Meanwhile, other experts reportedly have admitted that studies among children about Covid-19 may “take much longer to complete.” Dr Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, who is a part of the Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory committee, believes that children are not part of the preliminary trials yet.
“Children will be vaccinated, in time. To date, my sense is that children are not part of these initial studies. It would be unfathomable giving children a vaccine that has not been adequately tested in children,” said Offit.
Although vaccine trials are focusing on “highest risk” sections, including key workers and adults, some groups have also been vocal about their intent to test vaccines on children.
The University of Oxford in partnership with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is one of the groups that have announced their plans for vaccine trials on children. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in collaboration with other pharmaceutical companies is among other organisations interested in trials for children.
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