Vaccination for children between 12 and 18 years of age is likely to be held from November or early December, the Maharashtra paediatric task force has said.
Doctors have suggested that vaccines should be first given to children with comorbidities. Civic officials said there are 10 lakh children in the 12-18 age group and they are ready to start vaccination but are waiting for the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines.
Paediatrician and paediatric state task force member Dr Bakul Parekh opined that as most of the city’s population has now taken the first dose, it is time to focus on children, especially those with comorbidities.
“The clinical trial on which Covid vaccines should be administered to children is underway and we are expecting at least two vaccines by the end of the year. Immuno-compromised children should be the top priority as they are more susceptible to contract an infection,” he said.
Meanwhile, ZyCoV-D, the Zydus vaccine, is likely to be introduced as part of the vaccine programme soon.
Additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani said the BMC is awaiting the ICMR guidelines. There will be no separate vaccine centres for children as by the time they will be a part of the drive most of the population will be fully vaccinated.
“We have 325 centres and the crowd will be very less when the drive is rolled out, so there will be no chaos. We have instructed all centres to be ready for,” he said.
To date, 35,753 children in the 10-19 age group and 13,931 in the 0-9 age group have tested positive. The BMC plans to vaccinate the entire adult population by February next year.
A senior paediatrician from JJ hospital said the Central government should immediately roll out vaccines for children. “We know children have been equally infected during the first and second waves, so the exercise is important,” he said.