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Decision On Vaccination Of Children To Be Based On Scientific Rationale: Dr V K Paul

An expert panel of India’s central drug authority has recommended granting EUA to Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for children and adolescents in the 2-18 years age group with certain conditions

Decision On COVID Vaccination Of Children To Be Based On Scientific Rationale: Dr V K Paul
Highlights
  • ZyCoV-D will be the first COVID vaccine for 12-18 years in India
  • ZyCoV-D has recevived emergency use aurhorisation; yet to be rolled out
  • Decision on child vaccination will be based on supply of vaccines: Centre

New Delhi: The government will take a final decision on vaccinating children and adolescents against coronavirus on the basis of overall scientific rationale as well as the supply situation of vaccines available for those below 18 years old, COVID Task Force chief V K Paul said on Sunday (October 17). Dr Paul, who has been playing a key role in the government’s efforts in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, also cautioned that even though infections are coming down and the second wave is subsiding, it will not be fair now to say that the worst is over since many countries have seen more than two waves.

Also Read: Expert Panel Recommends COVID Vaccine Covaxin In 2-18 Age Group

Currently, three vaccines — Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V — being administered in the country are only for those above 18 years of age. All of them are two-dose vaccines. Zydus Cadila’s indigenously developed needle-free COVID-19 vaccine ZyCoV-D is set to become the first vaccine that will be available in India for those in the age group of 12-18 years. It has received Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA).

We do know that several countries have introduced vaccination for adolescents (people) and children. We will take a final decision based on the overall scientific rationale and the supply situation of the child licenced vaccines, going forward, Dr Paul told PTI in an interview.

Also Read: Zydus Cadila’s COVID Vaccine To Be Inoculated Through An Applicator: Dr VK Paul

An expert panel of India’s central drug authority has recommended granting EUA to Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for children and adolescents in the 2-18 years age group with certain conditions. If approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), it will be the second vaccine after ZyCoV-D to get EUA for use among those below 18 years. The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) is looking at how ZyCov-D should be positioned for most optimum use. According to Paul, Covaxin is a part of the adult vaccination programme and how to provision the vaccine, if at all for children, has to be also examined in the totality of the requirements of the vaccination programme.

A pragmatic decision (on vaccination of children and adolescents) can be taken (only) by balancing the supply and the potential eligibility, he said.

While noting it will not be possible now to give a particular timeline on when COVID vaccination will start for children, Dr Paul said,

The preparation for incorporation of Zydus Cadila’s vaccine into the vaccination programme is proceeding well, training is already being held. NTAGI advice for the best use of the vaccine is explored. So soon, this will be rolled out.

Also Read: 60 Lakh Doses Of Zydus Cadila’s COVID Vaccine Ready After Production In October: Report

According to Dr Paul, children are part and parcel of the chains of COVID transmission and are infected in large numbers. At the same time, COVID infections in children are very mild or asymptomatic, and that is one side of the story. On the other side, he said that once there is enough vaccine available that can be used in children, “so why not protect them”.

Schools have reopened in many states, mainly for higher classes. When asked whether the worst of the pandemic is over, Dr Paul said,

It is reassuring that the number of COVID cases are now on the decline and the second wave is now subsiding but to say that the worst is over will not be fair because we have seen in other nations, there have been more than two waves.

Cautioning that the country is passing through a phase when there are festivals and potential gatherings, he said this is a critical phase as the virus can spread again.

We have seen that even in other countries where vaccine coverage is good, the escalation in the pandemic can happen and has happened. Therefore, certainly we should not assume that this situation of the declining trend will continue and definitely we should not think that the worst is over, we have to be ever watchful, he emphasised.

Also Read: Will Cross 100 Crore Vaccine Mark Soon, CoWIN Leading World: PM Modi

While stressing that the vaccination programme has picked up huge speed, Dr Paul also said that states which are for whatever reasons lagging behind must work hard and must push vaccination.

Now, of course, there is no dearth, no inadequacy of vaccine supply. They are as of today 10 crore doses of vaccines with the state governments for the vaccination programme, he said.

As the supply situation is excellent, Dr Paul said the states must ensure that they reach out to those who are left out in the vaccination programme.

Given the present generous vaccine supply situation and the performance of the vaccine implementation programme, it is well within our grasp to accomplish universal vaccination of the adult population, he asserted.

On some reports that India simply will not have enough syringes for COVID vaccines if every single adult is to be fully vaccinated by the end of the year, Dr Paul said, “there is no problem of syringe availability, we are in a good shape”.

The country recorded 14,146 fresh COVID infections in a day while active cases declined to 1,95,846, the lowest in 220 days, according to the Union Health Ministry’s data released on Sunday.

Also Read: Union Health Ministry Issues Guidelines For COVID Vaccination At Home For People With Special Needs

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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World

26,27,61,966Cases
22,35,18,265Active
3,40,28,506Recovered
52,15,195Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 196 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 26,27,61,966 and 52,15,195 have died; 22,35,18,265 are active cases and 3,40,28,506 have recovered as on December 1, 2021 at 3:56 am.

India

3,45,96,776 8,954Cases
99,0231,520Active
3,40,28,506 10,207Recovered
4,69,247 267Deaths
In India, there are 3,45,96,776 confirmed cases including 4,69,247 deaths. The number of active cases is 99,023 and 3,40,28,506 have recovered as on December 1, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

66,35,658 678

11,226 299

64,83,435 942

1,40,997 35

Kerala

51,41,814 4,723

44,314 824

50,57,368 5,370

40,132 177

Karnataka

29,96,148 291

6,445 462

29,51,492 745

38,211 8

Tamil Nadu

27,26,917 720

8,244 47

26,82,192 758

36,481 9

Andhra Pradesh

20,72,909 184

2,149 47

20,56,318 134

14,442 3

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,399 12

89 3

16,87,399 8

22,911 1

West Bengal

16,16,083 705

7,731 2

15,88,866 694

19,486 13

Delhi

14,40,934 34

287 2

14,15,549 32

25,098

Odisha

10,49,108 228

2,188 23

10,38,509 203

8,411 2

Chhattisgarh

10,06,813 34

318 0

9,92,902 34

13,593

Rajasthan

9,54,785 15

193 6

9,45,637 9

8,955

Gujarat

8,27,475 40

275 13

8,17,108 27

10,092

Madhya Pradesh

7,93,170 20

119 7

7,82,523 27

10,528

Haryana

7,71,709 17

163 2

7,61,492 19

10,054

Bihar

7,26,223 4

36 3

7,16,524 7

9,663

Telangana

6,75,994 196

3,591 10

6,68,411 184

3,992 2

Assam

6,16,852 144

2,625 30

6,08,124 109

6,103 5

Punjab

6,03,279 21

325 4

5,86,352 22

16,602 3

Jharkhand

3,49,244 12

98 3

3,44,006 9

5,140

Uttarakhand

3,44,255 28

141 9

3,36,706 19

7,408

Jammu And Kashmir

3,36,852 171

1,625 1

3,30,751 172

4,476

Himachal Pradesh

2,27,195 102

834 10

2,22,513 91

3,848 1

Goa

1,78,928 38

284 8

1,75,260 30

3,384

Mizoram

1,35,175 365

3,751 54

1,30,927 415

497 4

Puducherry

1,28,924 31

284 12

1,26,768 43

1,872

Manipur

1,25,205 36

649 6

1,22,579 40

1,977 2

Tripura

84,805 14

81 3

83,900 10

824 1

Meghalaya

84,480 19

294 9

82,713 9

1,473 1

Chandigarh

65,465 9

65 7

64,580 2

820

Arunachal Pradesh

55,276 3

35 0

54,961 3

280

Sikkim

32,242 9

124 3

31,715 6

403

Nagaland

32,122 13

133 7

31,293 20

696

Ladakh

21,578 38

276 26

21,088 12

214

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,683

1 0

10,678

4

Lakshadweep

10,394

24 0

10,319

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,683

6 2

7,548 2

129

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