When Can We Expect COVID-19 Vaccines for Children in India?

The Centre plans to begin Covid vaccination in kids aged 12-17 years, with comorbidities, by October.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>COVID-19 Vaccine: When can children get the Covid jab? Which are the vaccines in the pipeline?</p></div>

Now, children in the UK aged 12 to 15 are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine, following advice from the country's chief medical officers.

The children have been recommended to get one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech jab.

Several countries across the world including France, Germany, US, Canada among others have been vaccinating youngsters for some time now.

What about India? The latest sero survey suggests that about 60 percent of children have been exposed to the virus since the pandemic.

India has administered more than 75 crore COVID vaccine doses since the launch of the nationwide drive in January this year, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Monday.

But when can children get the COVID jab? Which are the vaccines in the pipeline?

When can children get the COVID jab in India?

The government plans to begin COVID vaccination in children in the 12-17 age group, to those who have comorbidities by October.

Earlier, the Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya and AIIMS Chief Dr Randeep Guleria had hinted that vaccines for children will begin as early as September, amid concerns over reopening of schools with the looming threat of the third wave.

Which COVID vaccines may be available for children in India?

  • Zydus Cadila's ZyCoV-D

  • Bharat Biotech's Covaxin

  • Serum Institute of India's Covovax

  • Johnson & Johnson

  • Biological E's Corbevax

What's the status of Zydus Cadila's COVID vaccine?

Gujarat-based Zydus Cadila’s three-dose COVID-19 vaccine was granted emergency use authorisation for use in adults and children above 12 years by the country's drug regulator in August, making it potentially the first vaccine to be administered to the adolescent group in India.

ZyCoV-D is the world's first COVID-19 vaccine built on a DNA platform to be granted emergency use authorisation.

It's a needle-free vaccine, which needs to be given in three separate doses.

The company has said it hopes to start trials in younger children aged two and over, soon, according to BBC.


Where are Covaxin trials at?

The data from Phase 2-3 clinical trials of the vaccine being developed by Indigenous vaccine maker Bharat Biotech for the age group of two to 18 years is still awaited.

The DCGI had given a nod to the company to conduct Phase 2 and 3 clinical trials in May this year. The trial was conducted in June on 528 children with 28 days apart.

Earlier, AIIMS Chief had said results are expected to be released by September.

“The outcome of these trials will depend on data emerging from the trial for the purpose of its approval and availability in the country,” Union Minister of State for Health Bharti Pawar had told the Lok Sabha.

What about SII's Covovax?

The KEM Hospital and Research Centre at the Vadhu Bukruk village in Pune district has begun enrolling children for phase 2-3 clinical trials of Serum Institute of India's coronavirus vaccine Covovax for those aged 2-17 years, The Indian Express reported.

Covovax has been developed by American biotechnology company Novavax. SII, which is producing the vaccine, will conduct the trials in India.

The company will conduct trials on children aged 2 to 17 years and the trial will cover about 920 children in two age groups across 10 test sites.

The trials for the first group will be conducted for those between 2 and 11 years and the second between 12 and 17 years.


What's the status of J&J and Corbevax?

Johnson & Johnson has applied for permission to conduct COVID-19 vaccine trials for kids in the age group of 12 years to 17 years in India.

The company has already received EUA, or emergency use approval, for its single-dose vaccine, which will be supplied via an agreement with Hyderabad-based Biological E. Limited.

The vaccine has 66 percent efficacy in preventing moderate to severe illness due to COVID and 85 percent efficacy against severe cases.

Biological E may also launch its vaccine, Corbevax, in October with phase 3 trial underway, according to reports

Earlier this month, the DGCI gave permission to Biological E to conduct phase 2-3 clinical trials of Corbevax on children between five-18 years with certain conditions.

Which are the other vaccines approved for children internationally?

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorised Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for those aged 12 to 15 years old, in May. The European Union also cleared the vaccine for use among kids in May.

The company will also seek clearance for use of its COVID vaccine in children aged 5 years and older, according to The New York Times.

Results from a study involving 5-to-11-year-olds will be released in the coming weeks, the company was quoted as saying by NYT.

In July, the European medicines watchdog approved the use of Moderna's mRNA COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 12 to 17.

The EU drug regulator said the Spikevax vaccine was found safe for children aged 12 to 17 years and produced a comparable antibody response as seen in young adults aged 18 to 25 years.

For both Pfizer and Moderna, legal hurdles need to be sorted out for its vaccines to be available in India.

What about Covishield? Are vaccine trials for kids happening with the AstraZeneca vaccine?

A trial for AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine in children between the ages of 6-17 did start in March 2021 in the UK, but was halted as a precautionary measure following reports of blood clots in adults who had received the vaccine.

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