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There are many children’s vaccine trials that are underway.
What to learn more about them?
The Jamaica vaccine rollout has begun for adults with plans to inoculate children with an approved COVID-19 vaccine at a later date.
Here’s what you need to know about COVID-19 children’s vaccine trials
The government has inoculated over 26,000 people since the start of the Jamaica vaccine rollout on 10th March 2021. Those who have received the COVID-19 vaccine are those who have been identified as priority groups ahead of the vaccination rollout.
A noticeable absence from the priority groups to be vaccinated are children.
Children are not currently part of the Jamaica vaccination schedule because children were not included in the COVID vaccine trials for the current vaccines.
About the COVID-19 Children’s Vaccine Trials
Moderna vaccine trial in children is expected to enrol 6,750 children in the USA and Canada.
Pfizer children’s vaccine trials aim to enrol 4,644 children in the USA and Europe.
The Oxford/AstraZeneca children’s vaccine trial will enrol 300 children aged 6-17 years old in the UK, with up to 240 children receiving the vaccine.
Both the Moderna and Pfizer trials will include children 6 months to 11 years with Moderna going up to age 12 years old.
The children’s vaccine trials are expected to continue through this year. If the outcomes of the trials are positive, the aim is to get the children’s vaccines approved in 2022.
It is not clear what is the duration of the Oxford/AstraZeneca children’s vaccine trial.
Why children’s vaccine trials?
The trials are being conducted to assess how safe and effective the vaccines are in children.
Each company is trying to assess the correct doses of the vaccines that can be given to children and how they will be tolerated.
The COVID vaccines being used in the trials are not new vaccines but vaccines that were already developed and are currently being used for adults.
This means the Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines which are administered as a two-shot vaccine, will be administered the same way in children.
The objective is to establish the safety and efficacy of the vaccines for children.
What does this mean for the Jamaica vaccine rollout?
A successful COVID vaccine in children has implications for the reopening of schools.
Currently, schools have been closed due to the increasing number of cases in both schools and the general population.
According to the latest order, schools are to remain closed except for those students sitting exit exams.
There is no guarantee that Jamaican schools will reopen for normal face-to-face sessions this year or next year.
We know from experience through multiple attempts to reopen schools over the past year, that until the spread of COVID-19 is controlled, schools cannot operate as they used to.
However, these COVID vaccine trials bring the possibility of increasing the number of people who can be vaccinated and, therefore, stopping the spread of the virus by including children in this population.
According to STATIN population data, children between 0-18 years old account for 14% of our population.
Taking this into account, if the children’s vaccine trials are successful and approved to be administered in the under 18 year age group, Jamaica could be able to inoculate approximately 80% of the population by 2022/23.
Through COVAX, the global vaccine sharing initiative, Jamaica has procured the AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines for its adult population.
If the children’s vaccine trials are successful and approval is given from the relevant regulated bodies, it is expected that Jamaica will procure approved COVID vaccines for its child population.
As many countries are still at the beginning of their vaccination rollout, any dreams of returning to normalcy should have at least a one to two-year timeline.
The great thing about this news is at least we can dream, we see better days ahead.