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'India At Tapering End of 2nd Wave, But Can't Take Anything For Granted': Covid Task Force Chief

Devotees pray inside a temple in New Delhi. The government has asked people to keep up their guard and follow Covid protocol even as cases decline. (Reuters)

Devotees pray inside a temple in New Delhi. The government has asked people to keep up their guard and follow Covid protocol even as cases decline. (Reuters)

Sounding caution, VK Paul expressed worry for Mizoram due to the rising Covid-19 numbers, saying there were some states where the positivity rate is still high.

India is in the “tapering phase” of the second Covid-19 wave but the situation should not be taken for granted, the country’s Covid Task Force chief VK Paul has said in a conversation with CNBC-TV18.

“The Covid-19 count has been stabilising. It looks like we’re in the tapering phase of the second wave. However, given the experience of the second wave, we can’t take anything for granted," said Paul on Monday.

Sounding caution, Paul also expressed worry for Mizoram due to the rising Covid-19 numbers, saying there were some states where the positivity rate is still high.

On the question of vaccines, Paul said workers were being trained to administer ZyCoV-D vaccine and that pricing issues are being processed. “Pricing issues are still a work in progress for ZyCoV-D. Workers are being trained to administer the vaccine," he added.

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ALSO READ | Govt to Decide on Covid Vaccination of Children, Adolescents on ‘Scientific Rationale, Supply Situation’: Paul

Currently, three vaccines - Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V - being administered in the country are only for those above 18 years of age. All of them are two-dose vaccines. Zydus Cadila’s indigenously developed needle-free Covid-19 vaccine ZyCoV-D is set to become the first vaccine that will be available in India for those in the age group of 12-18 years. It has received Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA).

Laying out the Centre’s plans, he said the top priority is to vaccinate all adults. “We are awaiting final certification on Covaxin for children," he said, adding that the Centre is exploring systematically vaccinating children with co-morbidities.

An expert panel of India’s central drug authority has recommended granting EUA to Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for children and adolescents in the 2-18 years age group with certain conditions. If approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), it will be the second vaccine after ZyCoV-D to get EUA for use among those below 18 years. The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) is looking at how ZyCov-D should be positioned for most optimum use.

On exports, Paul said once India’s own requirements are met, vaccine supply can be made available to COVAX.

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first published:October 18, 2021, 15:00 IST