NEW DELHI: The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) has approved the Serum Institute’s Covid-19 Covovax for the 12-17 age group. But, no decision has been taken on vaccinating children below 12 years, official sources said Friday.
The Covid-19 working group of the NTAGI decided to include Covovax in India’s immunisation programme against Covid-19, sources said. They had earlier reviewed data related to Covovax.
NTAGI is the highest advisory body on immunisation in the country, consisting of independent experts who provide recommendations to the government after reviewing data on disease burden, efficacy, and cost-effectiveness of vaccines.
This makes Covovax another option for vaccines for children between 12-17 years.
NATGI nod came three days after India’s drug regulator gave restricted 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.
Restricted emergency approval was also given to Cadila for its ZyCoV-D for above 12 years as an additional dose of 3mg with a two-jab inoculation schedule 28 days apart in the same age group.
As Covid-19 cases are seeing a spike in the past fortnight, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a Covid review meeting with all state chief ministers on April 27. In the meeting, he laid stress on prioritising vaccination for children.
Sources said the Serum Institute of India (SII) director for Government and Regulatory Affairs,Prakash Kumar Singh, had written to the Union Health Ministry recently, requesting Covovax’s inclusion in the immunisation drive for those 12 years and above.
He had said that the Pune-based firm wanted to provide Covovax to private hospitals at Rs. 900 per dose plus GST and was waiting for directions to supply it to the center. However, the price of the vaccine for the government was not mentioned.
Officials said no decision was taken on when to start vaccinating children below 12 years.
India had started vaccinating children between 12 and 14 years from March 16 with Biological E's Corbevax. So far, 2.82 crore children in this age group have been administered with the first dose. Children between 15-18 are getting Covaxin.