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Covaxin showed good immune response in children during trials: NTAGI chief on vaccinating children

He also said immunisation of these children can be started in a short period without any specific preparation and that the dosage requirement will be the same as adults.

Covaxin showed good immune response in children during trials: NTAGI chief on vaccinating children-dnm
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New Delhi, First Published Dec 27, 2021, 9:30 AM IST
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Lauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to include adolescents between 15-18 years of age in the country’s vaccination drive against coronavirus disease (Covid-19), Dr NK Arora, chairperson of Covid-19 working group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation in India (NTAGI) said it has several benefits.

In an exclusive interview on the Prime Minister's decision on rolling out vaccination for beneficiaries between 15-18 years of age, which is going to commence from January 3, Arora told ANI about the possible benefits of this decision.

He explained, “Children between the age of 12 and 18 years, particularly those in the age group of 15 to 18 years, are very much like adults. Our research within the country also says that almost two-thirds of the deaths which occurred due to Covid in India are within this age group. So, this decision was mainly taken to protect the adolescents.”

Dr Arora has said the country already has a vaccine for children, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, which has shown it has a very good immune response in them in trials.

“The point is that we have a vaccine, which is approved for children. Covaxin has shown that it has a very good immune response in children in trials. In fact, it is slightly better than adults. Secondly, this vaccine is a safe vaccine, and even local effects like pain, swelling in the arms are much less as compared to adults. We would like to offer this protection to our adolescents,” he said.

Dr Arora said, “There are two other advantages of immunizing adolescents. One is that they are quite mobile, they have to go to the school colleges and their risk of getting an infection, particularly in the light of Omicron, is present.”

“Secondly, many times these adolescents get infections in their households where elderly and those with comorbidities can get infected. So, in view of all this, the country has decided to introduce vaccination for children between 15 to 18 years,” he said.

He also said immunisation of these children can be started in a short period without any specific preparation and that the dosage requirement will be the same as adults.

Arora’s comments come ahead of the vaccination drive for those between 15-18 years of age from January 3, 2022, which was announced by PM Modi on December 25 amid rising Covid-19 cases linked to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

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