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, COVID task force chief V K Paul said on Sunday.
Paul also cautioned that even though infections were coming down and the second wave was subsiding, it would not be fair to say that the worst was over since many countries had seen more than two waves.
Currently, three vaccines — Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V — being administered in the country are only for those above 18. Zydus Cadila’s needle-free vaccine ZyCoV-D is set to become the first that will be available in India for those between 12 and 18. It has received emergency use authorisation (EUA).
“We do know several countries have introduced vaccination for adolescents and children. We will take a final decision based on the overall scientific rationale and the supply situation of the child-licenced vaccines,” Paul said.
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 age group with certain conditions.
According to Paul, Covaxin is part of the adult vaccination programme and how to provision the vaccine, if at all for children, has to be also examined.
“A pragmatic decision can be taken (only) by balancing the supply and the potential eligibility,” he said.
Paul said: “The preparation for incorporation of Zydus Cadila’s vaccine into the vaccination programme is proceeding well, training is already being held.”