Johnson & Johnson hopes to test single dose Covid vaccine on babies and pregnant women

Johnson & Johnson plans to test its Covid vaccine on newborns and infants, the firm’s executives have told the US government (Photo: Shutterstock)

Johnson & Johnson plans to test its Covid vaccine on newborns and infants, the firm’s executives have told the US government.

The drug company also hopes to test its single dose vaccine - which has just been approved for use in the US - on pregnant women and people who have compromised immune systems.

Vaccination study plans

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was authorised over the weekend for use in the United States, with 100 million doses to be delivered by June.

The UK has also ordered 30 million doses of the Covid vaccine, but it has not yet been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for use in the UK.

Johnson & Johnson gave a briefing to the US government's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week, which said the company wanted to run trials looking at safety and immune response for children up to the age of 18, alongside newborns and their mothers.

Johnson & Johnson plans to first test its vaccine in children older than 12 and under 18, before then beginning a study that includes newborns.

The New York Times also reported that alongside babies and children, Johnson & Johnson plans to test its vaccine on pregnant women and people with compromised immune symptoms.

Dr Ofer Levy, a member of the Food and Drug Administration advisory committee, told the New York Times that the outlines of the planned trials “did not get into a lot of detail about it but did make it clear they will be pursuing pediatric and maternal coronavirus immunization studies.”

Johnson & Johnson’s proposals are thought to be the first aimed at infants, but last weekPfizer's chairman also said it plans to begin testing in children as young as five.

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca has said it will monitor whether their Covid vaccine produced a strong immune response in children aged between six and 17.