How will vaccines save children from the third wave?
According to CEO Adar Poonawalla of the Serum Institute of India (SII), they are planning to launch Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine ‘Covovax’ in India by September as its trials are in an advanced stage of completion. He also said that the vaccine can be available by September only if it receives the required regulatory nod from the Centre. The pharma company is also planning to start clinical trials of Covovax for children in July.
The Indian government also plans to vaccinate children against the coronavirus. However, there is no vaccine for that group yet. The government is planning to cover at least 80 per cent of the 130 million (13 crores) children falling in the 12-18 age group. So if they want to cover 13 crore children they will need to purchase roughly 208 million doses of a two-shot vaccine to meet its goal.
Pfizer-BioNtech’s jab has been approved for use in the 12-15 age group in the EU, news reports suggest, COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin, developed by Bharat Biotech, will be used in India for the purpose. The news report tells. Covaxin is already being given to adults. The trial of its use on children is going on.
Can Pfizer’s vaccine be effective for children?
As per reports, American firm Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine has been tested on children and is already approved in the US and Europe. The central government is in conversation with the company and expects to receive 50 million or 5 crore doses by October. According to the report by The Indian Express, the government agencies are still negotiating (with Pfizer). There is nothing that’s certain at this point. It also depends on when the vaccine arrives and what our imperatives are at that time.
If Pfizer’s jab is only used for children, and not for adults, the short supply would still not be enough to cover the age group. According to a media briefing by the Health Ministry on June 4, NITI Aayog Member—Health Dr Vinod K Paul had said India has around 130 million children in this age group. If the government wants to vaccinate (those between) the 12-18 years age group and the Center must have a strategy for at least 80 percent of them, then the quantity by Pfizer will not suffice.
Can other options of vaccines work for children?
India’s homemade vaccine COVAXIN, which is already being used on adults, has the ability to provide for larger orders. However, its trials on children are still underway. If it qualifies, it would be the government’s main resource for covering the younger population. But its clinical trials are underway.
Why is vaccination for children important?
As per several media reports, the third wave is going to affect children but there is little evidence to prove the claim. But still, the Center is preventing the crisis and taking precautions, and to avoid the drastic effects the government aim is to vaccinate a high percentage of the population to achieve “herd immunity,” a stage where the virus is unable to spread because many have been immunized against it.
According to Gujarat-based firm, Zydus Cadila is also testing its COVID-19 vaccine on children, Dr Vinod Paul had said earlier this month. When the government has sufficient data on that vaccine’s viability, it will also be considered for use. The Centre reportedly expects a supply of 626 million doses of COVAXIN and 47 million doses of Cadila’s vaccine by the end of this year.
According to some experts, the third wave of the coronavirus could hit India in under eight months and might be more dangerous for children. One of our team members Parul Srivastava talked to Dr Marcus Ranney where he told us about the guidelines by the government to vaccinate children in India. We will have to see how the government will vaccinate 13 crore children of India.
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