An expert panel on Tuesday recommended Covaxin – Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine for use on children between the ages of two and 18.
Final approval for the use of Covaxin on children will be given by the Drug Controller General of India. When that approval does come, Covaxin will become only second vaccine cleared for use on kids; in August Zydus Cadila’s three-dose DNA jab was allowed to be used on adults and children over 12.
A third potential vaccine for kids is Serum Institute’s Novavax, for which the DCGI last month cleared trials for children between seven and 11 years.
Last week manufacturers Bharat Biotech said it had submitted all relevant data for vaccine trials on children between two and 18.
India is turning its focus towards vaccinating children against the coronavirus, having already administered nearly 96 crore doses to adults.
Dr Randeep Guleria, chief of Delhi’s AIIMS, has said children also have to get vaccinated “because that’s the only way to get rid of the pandemic”.
Earlier this month Dr NK Arora, the chief of India’s vaccine task force, told news agency ANI children with severe comorbidities would be prioritised and that other kids would be immunised subsequently.
“We are trying to identify (children) at highest risk… within the next couple of weeks, the list will be in the public domain. We are also making arrangements so these children do not have to travel (too far) to get the vaccine…” he said.
As schools re-open and students (and teaching and non-teaching staff) return to classrooms, concerns have been expressed over a spike in cases and the possibility of children being infected by the deadly virus, as well as the necessity to also fully inoculate adults working at all schools.
India has so far fully vaccinated less than 30 crore of its 130 crore population.
With input from ANI