Priority list being drawn up of kids with comorbidities for vaccine rollout

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Priority list being drawn up of kids with comorbidities for vaccine rollout
© Provided by The Times of India

PUNE: A comprehensive priority list of children with comorbidities is being worked out for the combined launch of ZyCoV-D and Covaxin in India, according to a senior official from the Centre’s Covid-19 working group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI).

The two Covid vaccines meant for immunisation of children in the 2-17 age bracket are likely to be introduced together under the country’s Covid immunisation programme once this broader priority list is ready, the official said.

“In addition to ZyCoV-D, we will also be looking at Covaxin data once the Drug Controller General of India gives emergency use approval. The plan is to bring out a comprehensive list of kids with comorbidities for priority,” the official said.

DCGI has yet to approve Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for emergency use in children (2-17 years), despite a recommendation from the subject expert committee earlier. The regulatory body is seeking additional technical inputs on the vaccine. The SEC is part of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation.

Zydus Cadila got emergency use approval for ZyCoV-D (12-17 years) from DCGI in August. DCGI’s approval is mandatory for the vaccine to be included in the government’s Covid immunisation programme.

Experts, however, have been emphasising that there was no immediate need to vaccinate all children. This is because children have been largely spared of severe Covid disease. “The focus is on vaccinating the adult population at high risk. Vaccinating children, especially healthy ones, is not an immediate priority. Eventually, the government will have to vaccinate everyone, but there is no pressing need to inoculate all kids,” said Pramod Jog, a member of Maharashtra’s paediatric Covid task force.

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