The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) may recommend conducting a serosurvey among children to check the antibody levels before taking the final decision to start vaccinating those aged 5-12 years for Covid, News18.com has learnt.
In a meeting on Friday, the expert panel discussed the issue of vaccinating younger children. However, no concrete decision was taken.
“There is a lot of uncertainty among the members on whether it is right to kick-start the vaccination drive among children as young as 5-6 years old,” a member of NTAGI told News18.com. “But with the fresh surge in cases due to Omicron sublineages, the members have recommended conducting a survey to check the antibody levels among children.”
The source, however, added that the recommendation is still under deliberation and may be discussed in the next meeting. “We haven’t yet discussed the nitty-gritty of conducting surveys such as sample size, location, and agency that will conduct the study. So far, it’s just a recommendation by the members.
On Thursday, union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said a decision on vaccinating children aged 5-12 years will be taken on the basis of the recommendation by an expert committee (NTAGI).
On Tuesday, India’s drug regulator, DCGI, granted emergency-use authorisation for Biological E’s Covid-19 vaccine Corbevax for those aged five to 12 years and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for children in the age group of six to 12 years.
Other issues in meeting
While vaccination among children was one of the several topics discussed in Friday’s meeting, another official who was present told News18.com that the panel also discussed cervical cancer and typhoid vaccines.
“A presentation was also shown to the working group of Covid-19,” said the second official.
Apart from discussing the science, the members were also asked to restrain themselves from sharing information with the press.
“The panel also raised concerns regarding the leakage of information to the press/media by some of its members,” the official said.