NEW DELHI: Doctors welcomed the recommendation of an expert panel to grant emergency use authorisation to Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for children in the age group of two to 18 years with certain conditions, but flagged the fact that the anti-COVID-19 vaccine has still not been accepted globally.
Efforts must be made to establish its efficacy globally so that the children are not subject to restrictive measures when they travel abroad, they said.
An expert panel of India’s central drug authority has recommended granting emergency use authorisation to Covaxin for children in the age group of two to 18 years with certain conditions, sources said on Tuesday.
“It will be beneficial both for the children as well as those around them.
We need to achieve herd immunity and decrease the risk of further waves.
No doubt that children and adolescents are vulnerable groups and if the vaccine safety data is strong enough and we immunise them, it will have a big impact in reducing the transmission of Covid,” said Dr Akshay Budhraja, senior consultant, pulmonology, Aakash Healthcare, Dwarka.
He added that this will prove to be a major step as schools, coaching centres and sports centres are gradually opening.
Calling it a step towards defeating the pandemic, Dr Gauri Agarwal, founder, Seeds of Innocence, said it will help children resume their normal lives again.
“However, according to the principal investigator of Covaxin trials on children, the vaccine safety and immunogenicity results are awaited.
It is important to establish the efficacy of the vaccine by the time it is approved for administration,” she said.
At the same time, efforts must be made to establish the efficacy of the vaccine globally so that the children are not subject to restrictive measures when they travel abroad, she added.
Dr Rahul Nagpal, director of paediatric and neonatology at Fortis Hospital Vasant Kunj, said it is the first step and there is still a long way to go before it is implemented.
He echoed the views of Agarwal regarding Covaxin not being accepted at the international level.
“This is the first step and there is still time before it will be fully implemented. It is obviously exciting news but we need to wait and see.
“In case it is started, children with co-morbid conditions and those aged above 12 years will be the priority group. But at the same time, let us not forget that WHO has still not approved Covaxin.
A section of people would have hesitancy to take the vaccine since they would not be able to travel abroad with their children,” Nagpal said.