The expert panel said that the pattern adopted for the rollout of the vaccines for adults would be advisable for children as well.

Woman with COVID-19 injection
news COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday, October 20, 2021 - 16:06

The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) advising the Karnataka government has recommended that children of the ages 16 and 17 should be vaccinated first when approvals for COVID-19 vaccines for children are announced. Two vaccines for children - ZyCovD from Zydus Cadila and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin - are expected to be rolled out soon. Zydus Cadila’s ZyCov-D was granted emergency use approval by India’s drug regulator in August for its DNA vaccine against the coronavirus for children above 12 and adults. Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin has been recommended for emergency use for children between the ages of 2 and 18 but is yet to receive approval from India’s drug regulator.

"We have discussed starting vaccination for older children in the 12-18 age band mainly of the ages 16 and 17. Older children should be prioritised because as we know, the younger the child the severity of infection is less and outcomes are better even when they are infected," Dr. CN Manjunath, Director of Jayadeva Hospital and a member of the TAC said.

Niti Aayog member (health) VK Paul in an interview with PTI on Sunday said that there is 'no particular timeline yet' for the rollout of vaccine doses for children and said that it is dependent on supply and on the 'overall scientific rationale'.

TAC members in Karnataka said that the pattern adopted for the rollout of the vaccines for adults would be advisable for children too."Among younger children, those with comorbidities - childhood asthma or malnutrition - should be studied and they should be given priority," said Dr. CN Manjunath said.

He added that the pattern followed for the vaccination of adults should be replicated for children as well. "The consensus will emerge after discussions with the Central government. These are the suggestions we have put forward," he said. According to the TAC, paediatricians, nurses and ASHA workers should be involved in the planning of the roll out of the vaccine for children.

In the meeting of TAC members, the high price of the Zydus Cadila vaccine was also discussed. This vaccine comprises three doses instead of the two doses of Covaxin, Covishield or Sputnik-V. "This vaccine is also needle-less so we are discussing if the price will be higher for this and what can be done about it," Dr. Manjunath added