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AIIMS chief says availability of Covid vaccine for kids will pave way for school reopening

The AIIMS chief Dr Randeep Guleria on Sunday said if the Covid vaccines become available for children then it would be a milestone achievement. Speaking about the benefits of Covid vaccination for children, he said Covid vaccines for children would pave the way for the reopening of schools and the resumption of outdoor activities for them.

The Central government on Tuesday had said the schools – shut since March last year due to pandemic – will only re-open once a significant portion of the population has been vaccinated against Covid-19.

As the Covid third wave is expected to come up with more risk of affecting the children, the Central government had said that it will consider reopening schools only when the majority of teachers and staff are vaccinated.

Underlining the loss in studies in the last one-and-half years due to Covid, the AIIMS chief on Sunday said, schools have to be reopened and vaccination can play an important role in that. He said that the vaccination is the way out from the pandemic. The government has recently cautioned that even though Covid-19 has not impacted children greatly till now but the preparations are being made to deal with any such situation if there is a change in the behaviour of the virus or in epidemiology dynamics.

He said the Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin phase 2 and 3 trial data for 2 to 18 years age group is expected to come by September and the vaccine could be available in India around that time following approval from the drug regulator.

Earlier on Saturday, Guleria had told the PTI that if the Pfizer vaccine gets approval before that then it could also be an option for children. He also said if the Zydus vaccine ZyCoV-D, which it claims can be given to both adults and children, gets approval, it will be another option.

The pharmaceutical major Zydus Cadila will soon apply to the Drugs Controller General of India for emergency use authorisation for its Covid-19 vaccine.

He stressed that though children mostly have mild infections of Covid-19 and some even are asymptomatic, they can be carriers of the infection.

An expert committee has been formed to review Covid-19 situation among children and discuss the strategy and approach to save the children from Covid third wave

Read Also: Foreign e-commerce companies violating Indian laws: Piyush Goyal

On the issue of vaccinating children, NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul recently said, “Child cohort is not a small one. He had roughly estimated the children population in India and said It is about 13 to 14 crore for which India will need about 25-26 crore doses.

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