India on Tuesday got its second COVID-19 vaccine for children as Bharat Biotech's Covaxin was approved for those aged above two years. While Zydus Cadila's ZyCoV-D had previously received approved approval for all individuals aged 12 and above, this is the first jab to cater to younger children.
With the Zydus jab yet to become publicly available, this is also the first vaccine that can be used for children almost immediately. The details of the rollout plan however are yet to be disclosed.
"It will be a huge blessing for the children and the parents, because it will protect children from COVID-19. It will also de-stress parents who are always frightened for their children, psychologically it will also be a blessing for the parents along with the children," said Dr K. P. Sanghvi, a paediatrician with Masina Hospital.
The homegrown vaccine is yet to secure approval from the World Health Organisation, with officials insisting that a decision would be coming shortly. According to reports, India's Subject Expert Committee on COVID-19 has granted emergency usage approval to the jab.
According to a report on Monday quoting an AIIMS professor, the latest trials indicate that the safety and immunogenicity of Covaxin are almost the same in children, as adults above 18 years of age. The trials were done in three age brackets. The first group examined was between 12 -18 years, the second group was between 6- 12 years and the third age group was between 2-6 years.
"At first, we finished the examination of people aged between 12- 18 years and then subsequently other groups. Covaxin's vaccine safety and immunogenicity are almost the same. However, the final results of these trials are awaited. We had already carried out trials on the adult population. For children, we are waiting for the results," Dr. Rai who was the principal investigator of Covaxin trials on children had said on Monday.
Dr Rai noted that globally it is observed that in children, SARS-CoV-2 isn't fatal. "Only a very mild infection is present. In a few children, it's milder than the common cold. Currently, we don't have any justification on whether Zydus Cadila, Bharat Biotech, Pfizer or Moderna...which is the mildest. These vaccines are reducing the severity of the infection but not the infection," he said.
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