12 crore children need to be vaccinated now
After achieving the target of giving 100 crore doses by month-end to adults, the Centre is set to announce its plans to vaccinate children in the age group of 12-17 years.
When contacted, Prof N K Arora, Chairman of country’s top body, INSOCOG and Covid Task Force told Lokmat that the priority would be given to this age group as they could be carriers of Covid infections. Though the Sero-Surveys had established that the number of children infected with Covid is not higher than that of the adults. But they needed the vaccine now that most of the adult population had been covered with the first dose.
When asked when the decision would be taken in this regard, Prof Arora said, “It should come anytime now.”
In response to another question, he said, the vaccination of children in this category could start within the next couple of months. “In children as it is, severe disease and fatalities are uncommon. So, we have to ensure parents are safe first and children automatically become less vulnerable,” he added.
Arora added that children with comorbid conditions will be given priority in vaccination and even among them priority will be given to those who tend to have co-morbidities.
It is learnt that one percent children have co-morbidities out of the 12 crore children and the government had estimated that roughly 40 lakh such children will be given preference. The Jabs to them may start as early as October and may be free of cost. India’s drug regulator granted emergency use authorisation to Zydus Cadila’s vaccine, ZyCov-D, on August 20. This is India’s first vaccine for children aged above 12.