India may start vaccinating children next month: Health Minister

Covid vaccines for children are likely in a matter of days and the government may announce the start of vaccination for children next month, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said

Jul 27, 2021
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Vaccinating children next month: Health Minister

Covid vaccines for children are likely in a matter of days and the government may announce the start of vaccination for children next month, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said. He said this at a parliamentary party meeting of his party MPs where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present. 

According to experts, this will be a giant step in breaking the chain of transmission and also reopening schools across the country amid warnings of a possible third wave of Covid.

Earlier this month, Dr NK Arora, who heads the National Expert Group on Vaccines, had told NDTV that vaccination for children will start by September with the Zydus vaccine for 12 to 18-year-olds.

Bharat Biotech's Covaxin and Zydus Cadila's candidate are testing vaccines for children. The results of the Covaxin trials are expected by September, AIIMS chief Randeep Guleria had earlier told NDTV.

 India has given over 440 doses of vaccines so far, but only about 7 per cent of 900 million eligible adults have so far been fully covered and about 20 per cent partially covered. The government's plan is to vaccinate all adults by the end of this year.

The government today underscored the need to step up vaccination ahead of the coming festive season, saying vaccines save life in 98 per cent of the cases even if there is any breakthrough infection. "The pandemic is far from over... globally. We have to be careful... We may be tired, but not virus," said VK Paul, chairman of the National Expert Committee on Vaccine Administration, reminding people that the second wave of Covid which wreaked havoc in the country in the summer is not yet over. States of the northeast and Kerala, he said, are cases in point.

"While no vaccine has a 100 per cent guarantee, but all vaccines, even our own, shows the chance of serious disease is nearly eliminated. The chance of death is nearly eliminated,"  Paul was quoted as saying.(SAM)

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