NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As more people begin to qualify for the COVID-19 vaccines, there is one group that is excluded from getting vaccinated — children.

That may be changing, however, as a clinical trial with children is getting underway in Britain, CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reported Wednesday.

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Millions of adults have already received COVID vaccines in the U.S., but because a child’s immune system is different than an adult’s and may respond differently to a vaccination, those shots have not been fully tested in children.

That’s now changing in the United Kingdom, as a clinical trial on 300 young volunteers, ages 6 to 17, is beginning, using the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine.

“I’m doing this so kids like me can be safe. It felt good to be helping the research and to get it rolled out into children to protect us, too,” 14-year-old Ella said.


The AstraZeneca vaccine has not yet been authorized for any age group in the U.S. The Pfizer vaccine is cleared here for people 16 and older, and it’s 18 and older for the Moderna vaccine.

And even though children and young adults in general are at low risk for getting seriously ill with COVID, there are good reasons to vaccinate children.

“A lot of children are the ones being asymptomatic and with the asymptomatic there’s a risk of the infection spreading because people don’t know they’re currently infected and carrying the virus,” said Hannah Roberts, a senior research nurse for the Oxford Vaccine Group.

Half the volunteers will receive an active vaccine, while a control group will get a meningitis vaccine, which has similar side effects to the COVID vaccine.

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Even if this vaccine is found to be safe and effective in children, authorization in that group is probably months away. Plus, since children are at lowest risk for the disease, they’ll likely be in the final group to get vaccinated.

Dr. Max Gomez