“The risks associated with Covid are very strongly associated with age.
“The risk in children when they get Covid is extremely low.
“We’re doing these studies in children at the moment because we want to be able to use the vaccine in children should it prove necessary.”
The AstraZeneca vaccine trials on children are being used to assess whether the jab produces a strong immune response in those between six and 17.
The experts performing the tests placed the clinical trials on pause until more information from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is provided on the risk of blood clots reported in adults.
Updates from the MHRA are expected in the coming days.
Professor Finn continued: “We certainly don’t want to be taking any risks given their almost negligible risk of illness from the disease.
“While there is uncertainty around this, and until we get clearer information from the regulator, we really felt that the right thing to do was to pause the study, take stock and understand more fully whether there were any concerns.”
In the UK, more than 31.6 million people have received the first dose of the vaccine and more than 5.4 million have received their second dose.
Both the AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNtech vaccines are being used in the UK, although a third, the Moderna vaccine, has been approved.
Professor Finn continued: “I think if we could understand this illness, even if it does turn out to be caused by the vaccine and identify who is at risk and protect them from that risk, that of course is the best possible outcome for everybody.
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“The more information we get and the better we can understand this as fast as possible, the better the outcome for everybody, not just in this country but throughout the world.”