Britain's University of Oxford said on Saturday it will test the impact of the COVID-19 vaccine it developed with AstraZeneca on children, NBC News reported.

The trial will assess the "safety and immune responses" in children and young adults aged between 6 and 17 of the vaccine, the university said in a statement.

The trial, which will enroll 300 volunteers, will take place in three English cities, London, Southampton and Bristol, the statement added. The inoculations are expected later in February, it said.

"While most children are relatively unaffected by coronavirus and are unlikely to become unwell with the infection, it is important to establish the safety and immune response to the vaccine in children and young people as some children may benefit from vaccination," said Professor Andrew Pollard, chief investigator on the Oxford vaccine trial.

The two-dose Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is cheaper and easier to distribute than some rivals.

In recent weeks, there have been concerns about the vaccine's effectiveness to global mutations, in particular a variant detected in South Africa.

A small clinical trial recently suggested that the Oxford-AstraZeneca isn't effective in preventing mild to moderate illness from the South African variant. South Africa later suspended the rollout of the vaccine in the country.

However, the World Health Organization (WHO) this week recommended the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for people over the age of 65 "even if variants are present".

A WHO panel stated that despite questions regarding the vaccine's effectiveness against the South African variant of the coronavirus, "there is no reason not to recommend its use" in such cases.