Ground Report | New Delhi: Covid-19 vaccination for children; As experts and some states insist on reopening schools in the country, it is important to know the status of COVID-19 vaccines for children in India. AIIMS Director Dr. Randeep Guleria said that vaccines will be available for children in India by September 2021.
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said that the government may start vaccinating children against Covid-19 by next month, news agency ANI reported. He also said that India is on the way to become the largest vaccine producer as more companies will get production licenses.
Earlier this month, the Center had told the Delhi High Court that Covid-19 vaccines for children in the age group of 12 to 18 years may soon be available and a policy for immunization to them would be framed after obtaining approval.
Covid-19 vaccination for children
According to the experience of the second wave of coronavirus in India, where many children were affected and also came in contact with infected adults, most people believe that many children may have developed natural immunity. However, like adults, children can also transmit the coronavirus to others, which increases the chances of the virus mutating further. Less overall infection among the population means less chance of dangerous coronavirus variants.
The coming third wave
Indonesia, currently the epicenter of COVID-19, reported more than 150 child deaths last week, a death rate higher than any other country among children and one that faces minimal exposure to COVID-19. Challenges children’s ideas. The third wave is imminent globally and in India as well. According to strong theories, the third wave will affect children the most.
Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for children?
Many countries have started vaccinating children aged 12-18 with Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Vaccine. Pfizer has reported that the side effects of the shots appear to be similar in children and adults. Meanwhile, testing for young children is nearing completion. Doctors and experts believe that the benefits to children from being vaccinated against Covid-19 far outweigh the risks. (Covid-19 vaccination for children)
Vaccination options for children
The data on initial trials of vaccines available in India for children under 18 years of age is encouraging.
Covaxin: The second dose of Covaxin may be given to children in the age group of 2-6 years in the next week trial, while the same has already been given to children in the age group of 6-12 years at AIIMS Delhi. Test results are expected in early September.
Zydus Cadila: The clinical trial of its DNA-based COVID-19 vaccine ZyCoV-D has been completed for the 12-18 age group. Vaccines may be available in the near future, subject to statutory permissions.
Sputnik V: Preliminary testing of Sputnik V vaccination among children aged 12-17 years has begun in Moscow. Since the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has already authorized the use of Sputnik V for adults in India, access will be easier for the under 18 age group.
Pfizer & Moderna: Already approved by some countries abroad for the 12-18 year age group, both vaccines could be a viable option to consider in India.
Covaxin will test soon
Also, the Drug Controller General of India has given permission to Bharat Biotech, the maker of Covaxin, to conduct clinical vaccine trials for the age group 2-18, the government had told the Delhi HC.
Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine has been tested and approved in the European Union for use in adolescents 12-15 years of age. However, India’s indigenous capacity is expected to be used to make Covaxin, which is still being tested in children, a senior government official had told The Indian Express.
This is because the expected supply of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, even if used solely for children, will fall far short of the requirement, the official said. There is also uncertainty about how soon Pfizer vaccines may actually arrive in India, said the official, who has been closely involved in the country’s vaccination efforts.
In comparison, Bharat Biotech is expected to be able to fulfill larger orders, according to the official. The Hyderabad-headquartered vaccine maker has received permission to test its vaccine, Covaxin, in people between the ages of 2 and 18. If the trials are successful, it would allow the vaccine to cover a much wider population.