Johnson & Johnson plans to start testing its experimental COVID-19 vaccine in youths aged 12 to 18 as soon as possible, a company executive said at a meeting held by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday.
“We plan to go into children as soon as we possibly can, but very carefully in terms of safety,” J&J’s Dr. Jerry Sadoff told a virtual meeting of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
Depending on safety and other factors, the company plans to test in even younger children afterwards, Sadoff, a vaccine research scientist at J&J’s Janssen unit, said.
J&J started testing the vaccine in adults in a 60,000-volunteer Phase III study in late September. It had to pause the trial earlier this month because of a serious medical event in one participant. The study resumed last week.
Rival drugmaker Pfizer Inc has already begun testing the COVID-19 vaccine it is developing with Germany’s BioNTech in children as young as 12.