NEW DELHI: Despite an approval from the drug regulator to Covid-19 vaccine by Zydus Cadila for the 12-17 age group, apart from adults, vaccination will be available for adolescents and children universally only after adult vaccination is completed.
Vaccination for adolescents and kids with serious comorbidities, however, are likely to start in October when sufficient doses of ZyCoV D is available.
Talking to this newspaper, N K Arora, chairman of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation said while ZyCoV D has been approved for 12-17 year olds, by the end of this month or early September, Covaxin may also be available for children.
Covaxin by Bharat Biotech is being tested on 2-17 year olds as part of an extended Phase 3 clinical trial that had ended for adults in March-April.
“Our plan is to offer universal vaccination to kids only when all adults are covered as they have a much higher risk of developing serious disease. But we are set to do prioritisation for children with severe underlying conditions,” said Arora.
He added a panel of doctors who defined the clinical criteria for the 45-59 group in the second phase of vaccination will come up with guidelines for kids’ vaccination. “These guidelines will be released by September end.”
Underlying diseases that may lead to vaccine prioritisation include diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases. Experts have said that risk of severe disease due to Covid is far lower in kids. Their vaccination should be considered only when there are vaccines, effective in preventing transmission, are available.
“None of the available vaccines are capable of preventing transmission. They offer protection from hospitalisation and severe disease. There should be no hurry to vaccinate children,” Chandrakant Lahariya, health systems and vaccine specialist, said earlier.