Chief NTAGI, Health News, ET HealthWorld

NEW DELHI: Once the Covid-19 vaccination campaign for children begins in India, priority will be given to children with co-morbidities, regardless of their severity, said the chair of the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NTAGI), Dr NK Arora.

Dr Arora said: “We will prioritize the Covid-19 vaccination for children with severe co-morbidities and co-morbidities so that we immunize them immediately and the rest of the healthy children can be immunized with the following. “
While explaining how to prioritize immunization of children, Dr Arora said: “We are working on it and we are trying to identify those who are most at risk of contracting the serious illness and who need to be hospitalized. In the coming weeks, the list will be available in the public domain. In addition, we are also making arrangements in different parts of the country so that these children do not have to travel and in their district the vaccine is made available. “

Earlier in August, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) approved Zydus Cadila’s DNA vaccine for emergency use in adults and children aged 12 and over. The vaccines are now waiting to be introduced into the national immunization program.

In June, WHO-AIIMS in a joint survey found that the seroprevalence was 55.7% in the under-18 age group and 63.5% in those 18 and over.

In addition, the study found that there was no statistically significant difference in prevalence between adults and children.

Earlier in September, schools in the nation’s capital for grades 9 to 12 reopened after an extended shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the context of the reopening of the school, Dr Arora said: “Children are vectors. They spread the infection but themselves are not infected. It is therefore important that the adults around them – whether they are family members, teachers, non-teaching staff – should be immunized and surrounded by a ring of protection. “

Further, he said: “Our national goal is to immunize all adults. We have reached half of the benchmark. Once the adults are vaccinated, we have approximately 44 million children under the age of 18 and we are ready to vaccinate the children at the same time. speed.”

According to Dr Arora, the HIV test results show an almost similar level of exposure to the virus, but symptomatic infection or severe illness is very rare in children, especially under the age of ten.

“In fact, by some estimates, compared to those over 18, the risk of serious illness, hospitalization and death is almost 1 / 15th of those older than adults,” noted the Dr Arora.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan told a press briefing that Zydus Cadila’s Covid-19 vaccine would soon be introduced into the national immunization program.

ZyCoV-D is a needle-free vaccine manufactured by Zydus Cadila, based in Ahmedabad. To date, it is the only vaccine that has received emergency use authorization (EUA) for administration in children aged 12 to 18 years.

“In addition, India is also preparing other pediatric vaccines so that we can immunize the rest of the child population. In the Covaxin trial, patient recruitment has been completed and the results should be available this year. Novavax’s Covid-19 vaccine, Covovax by Serum Institute of India (SII) who is five to 17 years old is underway and there will be another vaccine for immunization of children. By the end of the year, all of these results will be available so that when we go into next year, we have two or three options for our child population, ”said Dr Arora.

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