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When will children be vaccinated? India to soon issue guidelines on COVID vaccination for children

Though schools and colleges across the country are back to conducting offline classes for most of the students after 18 months of online classes, trials are being conducted by multiple pharmaceutical companies, but no definite date for the vaccination drive has been issued yet.

When will children be vaccinated? India to soon issue guidelines on COVID vaccination for children-dnm
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New Delhi, First Published Oct 27, 2021, 1:21 PM IST
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The Covid-19 vaccination drive is advancing in full force for those above the age of 18 across India, but the country is yet to roll out its first Covid-19 vaccine for children, and all those below the age of 18.

“Several top experts in the field are being consulted to see how best [Covid-19] vaccination among children can be introduced in the programme. People concerned are being thorough about it as it concerns children,” said a government official aware of the matter, requesting not to be named. “The guidelines on a list of specified comorbidities, and other procedural clarifications should be out soon.”

Though schools and colleges across the country are back to conducting offline classes for most of the students after 18 months of online classes, trials are being conducted by multiple pharmaceutical companies, but no definite date for the vaccination drive has been issued yet.

The Covid-19 vaccination drive for children is likely to be introduced next month in a phased manner. It could start with giving anti-Covid shots to those aged 12 and above, much like there was a phased approach with the country’s adult population, with children considered vulnerable to Covid-19 getting the first jabs.

Also read: WHO seeks ‘additional clarifications’ from Bharat Biotech to approve Covaxin

ZyCoV-D, Zydus Healthcare’s Covid-19 vaccine, which received emergency-use authorisation last month, has been tested in those aged 12 and above.

“The list of comorbidities will be specified as it was done in [the case of] adults. While age was a major criterion for adults, in the case of children, comorbid conditions are likely to be the deciding factor for eligibility. The specified condition may need confirmation from a certified doctor, and whether it’s okay to take the shot. The guidelines will clarify these things,” said the government official.

Health-related conditions that are likely to be included on the list are all types of cancers, congenital heart disease, chronic liver and kidney diseases, and lung-related ailments. Children who have undergone an organ transplant will also be prioritised.

Earlier, a senior Health Ministry official said that while the Pfizer- BioNTech mRNA vaccine had been tested and approved in the European Union for use in adolescents aged 12-15, India was looking at an indigenous vaccine. “The exact timeline for this vaccine’s procurement and the quantity available is still not certain, so details can be given out only after the fine print has been decided upon,’’ he stated.

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