U.S. drug maker Johnson & Johnson announced on Friday that it will soon start vaccinating children as young as 12 as part of the company’s ongoing Phase 2a clinical trial of its Covid-19 vaccine – and has already started vaccinating older adolescents.
The Phase 2a study, which began in September 2020, was initially designed to study single and two dose regimens of the vaccine, at different dose levels and schedules, in healthy adults aged 18 to 55 and 65 and over. The study now includes adolescents.
“In addition to expanding this ongoing study to include adolescents, we are in talks with health authorities and are working hard to initiate studies on pregnant women and children in the near future,” Dr Mathai Mammen , global head of research and development at Janssen, said in a statement Friday. Janssen is the vaccine arm of Johnson & Johnson.
The statement said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will initially be tested on a small number of adolescents between the ages of 16 and 17.
Following a review of the initial data from this phase 2a trial, the study will then be extended to a larger group of young adolescents.
This trial is currently recruiting participants in Spain and the United Kingdom, and registration is expected to begin shortly in the United States, the Netherlands and Canada, followed by Brazil and Argentina.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on adolescents, not only with the complications of the disease, but with their education, mental health and well-being,” said Dr. Paul Stoffels, vice president of the Johnson & Johnson Executive Committee. and scientific director.
“It is vital that we develop vaccines for everyone, everywhere to help fight the spread of the virus with the goal of getting back to everyday life,” Stoffels said.
This article has been updated to clarify the timeline around adolescent immunization in its essay.
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