Children above 12 with comorbidities to get COVID-19 vaccine first, says Panel Chief


The Chairman of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization, NK Arora, said on August 23, 2021, that the children with comorbidities will be given the priority in vaccination drive for those below the age of 18 years.

Arora said that the children with comorbidities will be given the preference when paediatric vaccines are introduced in the system, be it Bharat Biotech’s COVAXIN, Zydus Cadila’s ZyCoV-D, or the other one that the Serum Institute of India has been testing on children.

As per the Public Health Experts, children must get vaccinated against the disease when they become eligible in order to reduce the vulnerability in a possible third wave of infections as they are the only group that is completely unvaccinated.

The two COVID-19 vaccine candidates were tested among children in India: ZyCoV-D and COVAXIN. The two vaccines are also the only one of the six now approved in the country to be developed indigenously.

Zydus Cadila’s ZyCoV-D vaccine approved for Children: What now?

ZyCoV-D, Zydus Cadila’s COVID-19 vaccine, has become the first vaccine in India to receive emergency use approval for children above the age of 12 years.

NK Arora informed that the Government experts will be holding discussions and meetings on how to introduce Zydus’s vaccine as it is a three-dose intradermal vaccine that is to be administered in a 28-days gap.

However, Zydus informed that it has also planned on seeking approval for a two-dose regimen of its vaccine in the country.  

COVAXIN: Bharat Biotech’s vaccine for children to be available soon

Bharat Biotech’s COVAXIN is also likely to be available for use in children by the end of 2021. The regulatory approval process of the vaccine can start anywhere between September and October 2021.

Krishna Ella, Bharat Biotech’s Chairman and Managing Director, and Dr. Priya Abraham, Director of ICMR-National Institute of Virology informed that COVAXIN for children will likely be approved by September 2021.

The final phase of the clinical trial is over and by the next month, the firm will receive the license for the vaccine use in children in India.

Bharat Biotech’s COVAXIN will also be the only vaccine in the world that can be given to children between the age of 2 and 18 years.

COVAXIN trials results in children:

The COVAXIN trial results in children can be expected soon and after that, they will be presented to the regulators.

The COVAXIN trial had 525 children volunteers while Cadila’s ZyCoV-D trials- as part of phase II/III clinical studies- had included 1,000 volunteers in the 12-18 age group.

COVID-19 booster doses in India:

NK Arora while talking about the booster doses said that it is another area that is getting more and more attention and that studies have already been initiated in the country to determine that.

He added that the government will strictly rely on its own data that will be generated locally on the need for booster doses.

However, experts have asserted that the first priority must be to vaccinate all eligible people. The booster may be required, but it will happen later, first, it is significant to cover all the high-risk population groups and adults.

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