Teenage volunteers wanted for Newcastle second dose vaccine trials

Credit: ITV News

Teenagers in Newcastle are being urged to consider volunteering for a second dose vaccine trial based at the Royal Victoria Infirmary.

Currently, people aged between 12 and 15 are only receiving one dose. Researchers running the University of Oxford-led vaccine programme say they want to find out more about immunising teenagers as it is the age group with the highest rate of infection.

All participants will be randomly allocated at the time of their second dose to receive either a full second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, a one-third dose of the Pfizer vaccine, a full dose of the Novavax vaccine or a half dose of the Moderna vaccine. These vaccines will be administered at least eight weeks after their first dose, and sites hope to complete this stage of the study by early December.

This morning (15 November) Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid announced that 16 and 17 year olds would now be eligible for a second dose.

“We are expanding the programme even further and today I have accepted the advice from the independent experts at the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to extend the additional offer of a booster jab to people aged 40 and over and offer a second dose of a vaccine to all young people aged 16 to 17 as part of the primary vaccination schedule. All four parts of the UK intend to follow the JCVI’s advice.

“I have asked the NHS to prepare to offer those eligible a vaccine as soon as possible. current UK guidance is that all adolescents aged 12 to 15 are offered a first dose of the vaccine. However, younger people at a greater risk of serious illness if they catch COVID-19 are offered two doses. The results from the study will provide the JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) with crucial information about immunising teenagers in the UK." - Sajid Javid.

Participants will not know what second dose vaccine they are receiving. Researchers will assess any side effects and immune system responses to these new combinations of vaccines.