Children aged 12-14 years may start receiving the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of February.
Read further for details.
Dr. NK Arora, Chairman of COVID-19 Working Group of NTAGI (National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation) announced the vaccination of 12-14-year olds by the end of February. Currently, 3.31 crore children aged 15-17 years have already received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccination.
Vaccination of 15-17 to end by Feb, 12-14 to begin by March
According to Dr. NK Arora said, the aim is to administer the first dose to all 7.4 crore teenagers in the 15-17 age group by the end of January. This is necessary in order to administer the second dose to the beneficiary group by the end of February. From the end of February or the beginning of March, authorities plan to begin vaccinating youngsters aged 12 to 14.
As per experts, children from 12 to 17 are very similar to adults. So, this decision will mainly protect the adolescents in the 15-17 age group first. According to Dr. Arora, once their full vaccination is done, the government will take up the policy decision to include the next age group, which is the 12-14 bracket.
One of the reasons why the government has prioritized this group of under-18s is that they are very mobile. 15-17 year olds attend schools, universities; mingle, and are thus at a greater risk of contracting diseases.
Dr Pramod Jog, former national president of the Indian Academy of Paediatrics, has taken his expansion of immunization for youngsters as a positive step. He also added the necessity of prioritizing vaccination of co-morbid children between 5-14 years. This is particularly important since these children are more susceptible to catching severe COVID-19 infection.
First Strain-Specific Vaccination Drive Around the Corner
The first strain-specific vaccination targeting Omicron is in the works, providing a big boost to India’s COVID-19 campaign. According to an ANI article quoting sources, Pune-based Gennova Biopharmaceuticals has created an mRNA vaccine for Omicron. This vaccine will soon be tested on people for efficacy and immunogenicity. The firm has also submitted Phase 2 data for the mRNA vaccine and has almost finished Phase 3 clinical trials. According to official sources, the Drugs Controller General of India’s (DCGI) Subject Expert Committee (SEC) will review the data soon. Gennova Biopharmaceuticals has further added that it can roll out “sufficient” quantities of the two-dose vaccine with the regulatory body’s approval.