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COVID-19 Jabs for Kids in India by September: ICMR-NIV Director

Priya Abraham, Director of ICMR-NIV, says children in India could receive COVID-19 vaccines as early as next month.

Updated
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Covaxin, Sputnik V, Zydus Cadila, what is the status of COVID-19 vaccine candidates in India for children?</p></div>
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COVID-19 vaccines for children may be available as early as September, said Priya Abraham, Director of ICMR-NIV (National Institute of Virology).

AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria, too had said, last month, that various COVID-19 vaccines for children in India are at different stages of clinical trials, and that the first batch is likely to be rolled out by September.

With schools reopening across the country, amid the spread of Delta variant and fears of a third wave hitting kids harder has made the need for COVID-19 vaccines for kids all the more urgent.

Here's a look at the status of the vaccine candidates for children in India.

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Covaxin

Indigenous vaccine maker Bharat Biotech announced last month that they were carrying out clinical trials to check the safety and efficacy of their COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin, in children aged 12 -18 years.

"Phase II and III trials of COVAXIN are going on for children in the age group of 2-18 years," said Priya Abraham, Director of ICMR-NIV, on Wednesday, 19 August, in an interview with India Science, the OTT channel of the Department of Science & Technology, reported news agency IANS.

"Hopefully, the results are going to be available very soon...So, by September or just after it, we may have COVID-19 vaccines for children."
Priya Abraham, Director of ICMR-NIV, as quoted by IANS

In June, AIIMS Patna had announced that they have started recruiting even younger kids, between the ages of 6 and 12 for clinical trials.

Zydus Cadila

In the interview, Abraham also mentioned Zydus Cadila, India's first DNA COVID-19 vaccine candidate which is yet to receive emergency use authorisation in the country, saying "Zydus Cadila's vaccine trial is also going on. This can also be applied for children and will be made available."

The Ahmedabad-based drug company has submitted safety and tolerability data from the phase 2 clinical trials and has generated data on 1,000 adolescents (between 12 and 18 years of age) from its phase 3 trials.

Sputnik V

Gamalaya's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine is being tested in Russia for children aged between 12 to 17 years in ongoing clinical trials.

Although the vaccine has received an EUA in India for adults over the age of 18, there is no update on whether it will be approved for children as well any time soon.

Other Vaccines in the Pipeline

Although the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is being tested for safety and efficacy in children between the ages of 6 and 17 in the UK, no such trials have begun in India for Covishield.

Serum Institute of India, who is producing Covishield, has announced that they are looking to start clinical trials to test their COVID-19 vaccine Covovax (made in collaboration with Novavax) in children in August, reported News18.

They also said that they hope to launch the vaccine for kids by January or Februrary of 2022.

(Written with inputs from IANS and News18.)

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