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As Manufacturers Rush, Children With Co-Morbidities on Priority List of Centre's Vaccination Plan: Report

Representatiional Image. (Reuters)

Representatiional Image. (Reuters)

In September 2020, Novavax announced a manufacturing agreement with SII for its COVID-19 vaccine NVX-CoV2373.

India’s vaccine plan has children with co-morbidities at the top. A report by Times of India states that once any vaccine is approved for children, the Centre will aim t first inculcate children with co-morbid conditions.

SII hopes to launch Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine ‘Covovax’ in India by September as its trials are in an advanced stage of completion, said its CEO Adar Poonawalla.

In September 2020, Novavax announced a manufacturing agreement with SII for its COVID-19 vaccine NVX-CoV2373. CNBC-TV18 reported the trial of Novavax’s coronavirus vaccine in India is likely to conclude by November, said Poonawalla. The pharmaceutical giant can apply for a vaccine license even before its trial in the country concludes on the basis of the global data of the trial, he added.

The Centre’s calculation is that around 25 crore doses are required for vaccinating 13-14 crore children in this

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age group.

Even as experts say that the children rarely develop severe forms of Covid-19, the states of Karnataka and Maharashtra have recently seen a spike in paediatric Covid cases, and some deaths too. Not only instances of coronavirus, some cases of paediatric black fungus have been reported too.

World Health Organization’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan had told News18 that till vaccines are available for children, more and more parents and teachers need to get vaccinated to protect them from contracting the virus. “I am very hopeful that ultimately we’ll have vaccine for children. But that’s not going to happen this year, and we should open schools when community transmission is down. That’s what rest of the countries have done, with other precautions. And if teachers are vaccinated, that would be a big step forward," WHO’s top scientist added.

Children aged 12-15 are already being jabbed in the US, Canada and the EU, while the United Kingdom has also approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for that age group.

According to a report in The Guardian, the Moderna jab, which is made in a similar way, is also approved for children in the US. They can both be used for older teenagers, since the main trials involved young people over the age of 16. AstraZeneca is now trialling its vaccine in younger children between the ages of six and 17. It is currently approved only for over-18s.

In a meeting with district magistrates and field officials of 10 states on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for the collection of data on the transmission of Covid-19 among youth and children in each district. He said such data must be analysed regularly to protect them.

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first published:June 18, 2021, 11:32 IST