NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Friday described the idea of administering untested vaccines, especially to children, as a “disaster”. The High Court, hearing a PIL on the issue of immediate vaccination of children below 18 years of age in light of the much-talked-about third wave, was informed by the Centre that clinical trials for the vaccines for children under 18 years of age are going on and on the verge of completion.
The Centre also informed the court that a policy will be formed by the government and children will be vaccinated when experts give their go-ahead after the trials. Upon hearing this, the two-judge bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh observed that trials should be finished first, “otherwise it would be a disaster if vaccines are administered without trials that too in case of children. Once trials are over, you quickly apply to children. The whole country is waiting”.
The matter has been listed for further hearing on September 6. The Centre told the High Court that vaccination is “the top most priority of the government and all efforts are being made to achieve an objective of 100 per cent vaccination in the shortest time possible keeping the available resources in mind and availability of vaccine doses into consideration”.
On the issue of clinical trials, the Centre informed the court that on May 12, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) had permitted Bharat Biotech to conduct clinical trials on the healthy volunteers between 2 to 18 years of age for its Covaxin.
Chetan Sharma, the additional solicitor general, representing the Centre, said that pharmaceutical company Zydus Cadila, which is developing DNA vaccines, has concluded its clinical trial for between the age group of 12 to 18 years of age. As and when it receives permission from the experts, Sharma informed the court, their vaccine could be made available in near future for children between the ages of 12 to 18.
Trials on verge of completion: Centre
The HC was informed by the Centre that clinical trials of vaccines for children under 18 years of age are going on and on the verge of completion and that a policy will be formed by the government and children will be vaccinated when experts give their nod