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Could you do this ?

(19 Posts)
BlueBelle Sun 14-Feb-21 05:56:19

There is a new trial expected to start shortly to judge if the vaccine will work on children so they are looking for 300 children 6 to 16 as volunteers I understand the need for this but I could never envisage putting a child of mine into a trial like this however safe they assured me it would be
How would you feel about a child or grandchild of yours being used as a guinea pig when they are too young to decide for themselves

Spice101 Sun 14-Feb-21 07:50:23

I guess it happens all the time in different trials. I have a friend whose gs is in a trial for egg allergy. He is allergic to eggs so could have a massive reaction if it goes wrong.

I guess someone has to do it and in the case of the COVID vaccination I think I would be guided by the results of the adult vaccination. It seems from what I have read and heard that most people are not having major side effects so I think I would be oK with it.

Dorsetcupcake61 Sun 14-Feb-21 07:51:11

I thought the adult volunteers for the vaccine were very brave,especially those in high risk groups. They did a wonderful thing that we have all benefited from and I am very grateful.
Under 16s are a completely different matter. Obviously they can not make the decision for themselves. Even at the top end of the age group they may well have an understanding of the principle but often tend to feel they are immortal.
Whether it involved my own childeren when they were younger or my grandchilderen now I simply couldnt do it.
I think we put such tremendous energy into keeping childeren physically and emotionally thriving this would be impossible to do.
The only circumstances i would probably consider a trial of any medication would be if they ,heaven forbid,had an illness where all avenues and treatments hadnt worked and a new medication was only hope.
It could just be me. In the past i assume all vaccines that we currently use must have been trialled on childeren at some stage?

Baggs Sun 14-Feb-21 08:05:01

The Oxford Vaccine Group is full of well-respected scientists. Experts even.

My youngest DD took part in one of their trials as a baby. It was to test the effectiveness of a meningitis vaccine that was already in use singly. They wanted to trial its use when combined with other infant vaccines also already in use because being able to give infants fewer jabs to boost their immunity to disease is a good idea.

There was no danger to the children involved.

In fact a few of the participants, whose take-up of the meningitis vaccine was less than expected were able to get booster shots because the trial picked up this phenomenon. Finding out this sort of thing these trials are for. They are not naked experiments; the vaccines have already been shown to be safe. The question is how will they work in children.

It's good that such trials are done. More trials should also be done to compare the effect of drugs on women rather than only on men, which has tended to happen. It matters because women are, on average, smaller than men and that makes a difference. Likewise with children.

nanna8 Sun 14-Feb-21 08:18:36

No I wouldn’t because the child can’t give consent. Also, are they going to expose those children to Covid to see if it works ? I remember many years ago my Mum was very proud to be part of an experiment into a rheumatoid arthritis medication. She died of a heart attack and later it came out that the drug was implicated in heart failure among patients. I wouldn’t trust any of these people after that. I know someone has to do it, but it’s not going to be anyone related to me !

suziewoozie Sun 14-Feb-21 08:22:46

I’ve been thinking about this since I heard the news. Medicines are trialled on children very rarely and as Dorset said if they are it’s a situation where they are not healthy but could benefit from the condition the medicine is aimed at helping. What troubles me in this is that at the moment it’s thought most children won’t need to have the vaccine whereas all the adults in the trials including the healthy ones could benefit from the vaccine even if only as they get older. It seems they are concerned about a small group of very vulnerable children. ATM children do receive medicines not trialled on children ( although I’ve no idea what proportion) . Doctors can make individual treatment decisions based on best interests and use medicines off licence. So very vulnerable children could be given the vaccine perhaps without the need for a trial.

I need to think about this a bit more. What makes me uncomfortable is that my very first reaction ( and it remains) is that I wouldn’t want my dgc (6 and 10) to take part.

Baggs Sun 14-Feb-21 08:27:15

Medicines are trialled on children very rarely

Perhaps not in the early stages of their discovery but
I hope, and expect, that the flu vaccines my grandkids were given at school were trialled on children before being rolled out.

Likewise all the other vaccines kids get in their early years.

suziewoozie Sun 14-Feb-21 08:27:44

Your example is interesting Baggs. It wasn’t a de novo medicine though and the ethical issue of benefit was clearer. I think if there was a plan to vaccinate all children ( which there isn’t) the issues would be clearer

suziewoozie Sun 14-Feb-21 08:34:29

Sorry Baggs yes they were. I was trying to make the point that there’s a difference between trialling a medicine that will be given to all children if successful and one where that is not the intention. My guess is that many medicines given to very sick/ vulnerable children are not trialled on children.

GrannyGravy13 Sun 14-Feb-21 08:39:23

Another one here who is undecided. Our babies, children and teenagers have a so many inoculations I assume they have been thoroughly tested.

Covid-19 is here to stay and I can understand the need for all sectors of the population to be vaccinated in order for society to return to some sort of normal .

The parents of the youngsters on the trial have my admiration, it will be done under absolute supervision and made as safe as possible. Could I have volunteered a child I am not sure?

Dorsetcupcake61 Sun 14-Feb-21 08:46:00

Its certainly a very thought provoking question. I do wonder if its because we are still finding out about Covid? It seems to affect so many people in so many different ways. With regard to the vaccine I've had my first one and it was a massive relief. That said at 59 and high risk it is the only way forward for me. I have however had my family etc and can understand how younger people may have concerns. It's a tricky one. For those childeren and young people with physical or learning disabilities a vaccine will be the only way they can live anything like a normal life unless covid disappears.
Very tricky!

suziewoozie Sun 14-Feb-21 08:51:10

Clinical trials in children

Pathma D Joseph, Jonathan C Craig, and Patrina HY Caldwell

Additional article information


Safety and efficacy data on many medicines used in children are surprisingly scarce. As a result children are sometimes given ineffective medicines or medicines with unknown harmful side effects. Better and more relevant clinical trials in children are needed to increase our knowledge of the effects of medicines and to prevent the delayed or non-use of beneficial therapies. Clinical trials provide reliable evidence of treatment effects by rigorous controlled testing of interventions on human subjects. Paediatric trials are more challenging to conduct than trials in adults because of the paucity of funding, uniqueness of children and particular ethical concerns. Although current regulations and initiatives are improving the scope, quantity and quality of trials in children, there are still deficiencies that need to be addressed to accelerate radically equitable access to evidence-based therapies in children.

This is an interesting brief summary

BlueBelle Sun 14-Feb-21 08:53:33

Well I know I couldn’t offer my children up for vaccine trials They can’t consent and the thought of a little 6 year old being a guinea pig would go beyond my abilities however laudable

I think it’s very different if the child has a bad illness and the trials might make a difference for them

I admire anyone putting themselves on a trial but do they have the right to offer up a child when they haven’t the ability at 6/7 to understand what’s being done
15/ 16 maybe a bit different if the child had strong feelings
These patients must have a faith I don’t possess

suziewoozie Sun 14-Feb-21 08:57:59

This is more recent (from the BMJ)

Challenges in clinical trials for children and young people
Florian B Lagler1,2, Steven Hirschfeld3, M Kindblom2,4
Author affiliations

There is a well-known knowledge gap regarding the efficacy and safety of medicines in children of all ages and children are often treated with medicines off-label. Children are thus deprived of treatment based on the same quality of information that guides treatment in adults. The knowledge gap regarding efficacy and safety of medicines in children has been acknowledged by authorities and is reflected in legislation both in North America and in the European Union. Recent reports on the effects of legislation indicates that paediatric clinical trials remain a challenge.

Paediatric clinical trials are needed in the entire developmental age spectrum and are especially needed in certain therapy areas. Paediatric clinical trials have special features compared with trials in adults, and these need to be taken into account. These special features include scientific issues related to small samples and heterogeneity, the consent/assent procedure, the need for age-appropriate study information, specific outcomes and safety issues related to development and maturation. Competence in paediatric clinical trials is required in both designing, planning, co-ordinating and organising paediatric clinical trials, as well as research infrastructure and networks to increase power and disseminate information and expert advice. Strengthening of paediatric clinical research is essential to facilitate generating the data that will let children enjoy new medical advances in a similar manner as adults.

Nannarose Sun 14-Feb-21 08:58:36

As grans (apart from a few) it isn't our responsibility. However, if this were me, as a mum with children of those ages, I would talk it over with them.
In this specific situation I would be happy for them to be part of the trial, and I would expect all of them to have their own views which I would respect in making the decision for them. Of course the younger ones wouldn't understand the full implications, but they are old enough to have some ideas that would guide me.

suziewoozie Sun 14-Feb-21 09:07:46

This is an excellent read. It also says that 90% of drugs used on children in hospital are used off label. But it covers a huge range of issues. On a cold Sunday once I’ve cooked the Hungarian goulash whilst listening to the Archers and then finished my jigsaw, I’m going to do some more reading and thinking on this issue.

Baggs Sun 14-Feb-21 09:11:18


Your example is interesting Baggs. It wasn’t a de novo medicine though and the ethical issue of benefit was clearer. I think if there was a plan to vaccinate all children ( which there isn’t) the issues would be clearer

The AstraZeneca vaccine isn't a "de novo" (by which I think you mean mRNA) type of vaccine.

suziewoozie Sun 14-Feb-21 09:14:26

I meant de novo in children as a vaccine - it had been used as a single shot before hadn’t it and this was about combining it? Or have I misunderstood? I mean anything not used in children before

BlueSky Sun 14-Feb-21 09:54:20

Very interesting topic. For most people I think our head says yes but our heart says no. Also the older children could have a saying in this but obviously not the younger ones. Like others I’m very grateful to the older people/people with conditions who trialled these vaccines for the rest of us.