New Delhi: The COVID-19 vaccine inoculation drive for children in age bracket for 12 to 14 years may begin from March this year, sources said on Monday.
As per the Health Ministry report, over 45 per cent of adolescents of 15 to 18 years have received their first dose of vaccines.
According to a source, the decision to inoculate the children aged 12 to 14 could be taken in the next National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation in India’s (NTAGI) Covid-19 group meeting which is scheduled to be held next month. As India has enough vaccine production capacity, the decision is likely to be taken in the next meeting, the source said.
The apex drug regulator Drugs Controller General of India has already approved two vaccines - Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadilla’s ZyCovD vaccine for the teens of this age bracket against Covid pandemic. Zydus Cadilla’s ZyCovD vaccine is world’s first plasmid-DNA vaccine which has been approved for children above 12 years
NTAGI Chairman, Dr N.K. Arora, had earlier said: “Since it is the first DNA vaccine, the government wants to be doubly sure of its safety before providing it to children. So, its first one crore doses will be given to adults.” He had said that the vaccine was found to be absolutely safe and highly efficacious during the trials and “we are sure that it will soon be available for children as well”.
Meanwhile, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said that over 3.5 crore children of 15 to 18 age bracket have received their first dose of Covid vaccines.
“Amazing enthusiasm among Young India for #COVID19 vaccination. Over 3.5 crore children between the 15-18 Age group have received 1st dose of COVID-19 vaccine, since 3rd January. Congratulations to all my young friends who have got vaccinated”, he tweeted on Monday.