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Covid-19 Vaccination For Children Below 18 To Start in India From March 2022

The fear of the third wave which is speculated to be striking in the month of September puts the children into a vulnerable situation.
Covid vaccination For Children below 18
Image Credits : GETTY/ROBERTO JIMENEZ MEJIAS
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Now that all the people above 18 have already been approved for the vaccination the only ones who remain more vulnerable to the infection are the kids below 18 and the report suggests that the vaccination for them shall begin from March 2022. 

According to the reports, the government is planning the vaccination drive for kids below 18 from the month of March 2022. The trials are already in the final stage and three or four vaccines may get approval for the under 18 age group by December this year.

Earlier the Director of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)’s National Institute of Virology (Pune) Priya Abraham had said that India is likely to have its indigenous COVID-19 vaccine for children by September. To make sure that the children of the country are safe, vaccines may soon start for children. 

Various trials have been going on for months for children. Scientists and doctors have been trying their best to make sure that vaccines don’t cause any adverse effects on kids.

“Hopefully, the results (of the trials) are going to be available very soon. The results will be presented to the regulators. So, by September or just after it, we may have COVID-19 vaccines for children,” Abraham said in an interview.

According to the Times of India report, Zydus Cadila’s Covid-19 vaccine, ZyCoV-D, is expected to get an emergency use authorization for the 12-18 cohort by end of August, whereas Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin – the world’s only vaccine being tested for use in the age group of 2-18 yrs – is also likely to get a go-ahead by September. 

There is also an mRNA vaccine being developed by Genova Pharmaceuticals. Though the mRNA vaccine is currently under clinical trial for use in adults, it is likely to be approved for children without separate trials. These vaccines are already being given to children in other countries, an official said.   

The Novavax Covid-19 vaccine, named Covavax in India with Serum Institute of India (SII) as its manufacturing partner, is likely to be approved for emergency use by December. The government aims to vaccinate the adult population by the year-end, but officials are aware that this also depends on persons being willing to be vaccinated apart from the availability of the shots. 

The report further states that the government will prioritize the vaccination for children with co-morbidities. Estimated be around 30 lakh children will receive the vaccines in the first stage and then include others depending on availability. Overall, there are around 40 crore young persons below 18 years.  

“Covid vaccination among children will start only once all adults are vaccinated. We also have to ensure that there is an adequate supply of the approved vaccines to cover all children,” the official said. 

A total of over 57 crore doses has been administered across the country till 8 pm on Thursday with over 49% of 94 crore adult population getting at least a first dose of the vaccine. Around 14% of adults are fully vaccinated. Officials say vaccination of children should not stop schools from opening if staff is immunized. 

“Children are not severely impacted by the infection. In most cases, it is mild. Primarily they spread the disease. So, if school staff and parents are all immunized, it is safe to open schools,” the official said. 

Though the pace of vaccination has increased of late, limited supplies and the upcoming festival season are seen as challenges that may again impact the speed of the program. Even though new vaccines like ZyCoV-D are expected to enhance supplies, it will depend on by when these vaccines are actually available and in what quantity.

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