Covid-19 child vaccine trial paused over clot concerns, not cot death

26 April 2021
What was claimed

Research in England involving giving children the Covid-19 vaccine has been stopped due to cases of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in those children.

Our verdict

A trial in children aged 6-17 has paused new vaccinations as a precaution, but no child involved died. It’s been paused subject to discussions between researchers at MHRA about the possible link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and very rare blood clots in adults.

A post on Facebook has claimed that: “In Oxford, researchers have started testing the AstraZeneca vaccine in children…Those experiments with children have now stopped. There have been severe side effects...such as SIDS...Some children have died.”

This is not true.

The post shows an English translation of an article in Dutch. The website hosts a mixture of articles taken from legitimate Dutch news websites and unsourced articles, including this one about children and the Covid vaccine.

It’s true that the University of Oxford had started trialling the AstraZeneca vaccine in children, and has now delayed any new vaccinations as part of that. That is not because of any cases of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), otherwise known as cot death, or “Sudden Unexpected Death Syndrome”, as the piece claims. 

The study was in children aged between six and 17, not infants, and there were no reports of any deaths in those children.

New vaccinations in children as part of the study have been paused, awaiting a review by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) of a possible link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and very rare blood clots. 

The MHRA has not recommended any age restriction of the vaccine, but the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which advises the government, suggested adults under 30 be offered an alternative as a precaution. We have written more about these decisions here.

The website of the Oxford study in children said: “Following this recommendation, we have decided that further vaccinations in the paediatric study will be postponed to allow us to have further discussions with the MHRA and the trial’s Data Safety Monitoring Board, but all other [follow up appointment] visits will continue in this important study.”

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