When Will Children Get The Covid Vaccine?

Everything you need to know about Covid vaccine and kids...

Child getting vaccine

by Connie Hack |
Updated on

Near 40million people in the UK have received the coronavirus vaccine today, with the government still set on its target to give all UK adults their first dose by 31 July. As roll outs continue and the age people are eligible for their vaccine, the focus is slowly turning to whether children will or can be vaccinated.

According to Google Trends, 'When will children receive the Covid vaccine?’ is currently a breakout search term alongside 'Can children get the Covid vaccine?', 'Is it safe for children to have the Covid vaccine?’ and ‘Are there side effects to children having the Covid vaccine?’.

While initial trails for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine focused only on adults, researchers at the University of Oxford maintained that phase two of their trials would involve assessing the use of the vaccine in children aged five to 12-year-olds. From this, they could see the immune response to the vaccine and if it varies between older people and children.

Since then, the University of Oxford has started to carry out clinical trials on children, testing how safe and efficient the Oxford vaccine is for the younger age groups. The trial is working across sites in London, Southampton and Bristol with around 300 children aged six to 17 being tested.

But while we wait for the results of the clinical trails, many people still have questions they want answered now - as evidenced above. With that in mind, we spoke to NHS doctor and founder of Your Doctor Friend, Dr Emma Luke, to get an expert opinion on all things Covid vaccine and kids...

Will children receive the Covid vaccine?

The UK currently only plans to offer vaccination to those over the age of 18 years. It is too early to say for sure whether children will receive a vaccine because we do not yet have data from clinical trials to support this. However, the producers of all 3 approved vaccines in the UK (Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca and Moderna) are currently undertaking these clinical trials. If these trials prove the vaccines are safe and effective in children, it is highly likely that the vaccination programme will be extended to include children.

Is the Covid vaccine safe for children?

Only with data from clinical trials will we know whether the COVID vaccines are safe for children. However, we do have data from clinical trials showing these vaccines are safe in adults and there is no theoretical reason why this shouldn’t also apply to children. Very early clinical trial data released by Pfizer at the end of March 2021 suggests their vaccine was 100% effective at reducing symptomatic COVID infections in 12-15 year olds, with side effects similar to those seen in adults. It is important to note that the full data has not been released, peer reviewed or published, but it is a good sign for the future.

Are there any side effects for children if they receive the covid vaccine?

Until we have data from clinical trials, we will not know for sure what side effects children could expect if they receive a COVID vaccine. We would generally expect children to suffer similar side effects to adults, which for the COVID vaccines are pain or redness at the injection site, fever, fatigue and muscle or joint pains.

Should all children get the covid vaccine?

The decision about whether a vaccine is recommended to anyone, including children, is based on the balance of risk and benefit – risk of the vaccine, risks of COVID itself and benefits of vaccination. It is important to remember that the risk of severe disease, hospitalisation and death from COVID in children is extremely low. We therefore need to be absolutely sure that the risk of vaccinating children is even lower. As we have seen with adults throughout the pandemic, children with underlying health conditions are at greater risk from COVID. Therefore, the balance of risk and benefit is more in favour of vaccination and it is therefore likely that this group of children will be prioritised.

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