Vaccination for children against Covid-19 will begin from August, health minister Mansukh Mandaviya is said to have told Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the BJP parliamentary party meeting on Tuesday. The vaccines for children are likely in a matter of days, Modi was told at the meeting, NDTV reported.
Experts say it is imperative for children and teenagers to get coronavirus vaccines to reach herd immunity. This could be a giant step in breaking the chain of transmission as well as reopening schools across the country amid warnings of a possible third wave of Covid.
Vaccine makers such as Bharat Biotech, Serum Institute of India and Zydus Cadila have begun testing their Covid-19 vaccines for children. Moreover, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said clinical trials in children need to pass rigorous ethical evaluations and meet certain standards before being allowed to recruit patients.
"I think Zydus has already done the trials and they're waiting for emergency authorisation. The Bharat Biotech's Covaxin trials should be over by August or September, and by that time, we should get an approval. Pfizer vaccine has been already approved by the FDA (US regulator - Food and Drug Administration). Hopefully, by September, we should start vaccinating children, and that will be a big boost as far as breaking the chain of transmission is concerned," AIIMS chief Randeep Guleria told the news channel.
Meanwhile, the US had authorised the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for children between 12-15 years in May. On Friday, the European medicines watchdog approved the use of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine for children aged 12-17.
In India, over 44 crore doses of vaccines have been given so far. The government's plan is to vaccinate all adults by the end of the year.
Edited by Rupashree Ravi
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