Johnson & Johnson said Friday will begin testing its coronavirus vaccine on youths ages 12 to 17.
The company said the Phase 2A study of the vaccine, ongoing since September, was initially designed to evaluate the safety of the vaccine candidate in healthy adults aged 18 to 55 years, as well as adults aged 65 years and older.
The study will be expanded to include a “small number” of older children and teens, with the first coronavirus vaccine test on 16- and 17-year-olds before expanding to a larger group of children, J&J said.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on adolescents, not just with the complications of the disease, but with their education, mental health and well-being,” said Dr. Paul Stoffels, vice chairman of the executive committee and chief scientific officer at Johnson & Johnson.
The study is presently seeking to enroll participants in Spain and the U.K. and it will soon enlist subjects from the U.S., the Netherlands, Canada, with Brazil and Argentina to follow.
Meanwhile, Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, the other two vaccine manufacturers to receive emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration, both recently announced they would conduct trials for children younger than 12.