FAQ: When Will Children Get the COVID-19 Vaccines in India?
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorised Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents aged 12 to 15 years old and the European Union also cleared the vaccine for children in May.
Other countries including France, Germany, and Canada, among others have also begun inoculating adolescents.
Children aged 12 to 15 in the UK are also eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine, FIT reported.
Till Wednesday, 15 September, over 75 crore COVID-19 vaccines were administered in India since the launch of the vaccination drive in January, but when will children be eligible to get vaccinated in India? What vaccines will be available for kids?
When can children get vaccinated for COVID-19 in India?
According to FIT, the government plans to begin vaccinating children in the 12-17 age group who have comorbidities by October.
Previously, amid the imminent third wave of COVID-19, the Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya and AIIMS Chief Dr Randeep Guleria had said that vaccination drive for children would be commencing in September.
Which vaccine is likely to be rolled out for children first?
In August, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) had given Gujarat-based Zydus Cadila’s three-dose COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorisation for use in adults and children above 12 years.
The needle-free, three-dose vaccine is potentially the first vaccine to be administered to the adolescent group in India, FIT reported.
ZyCoV-D is the world's first COVID-19 vaccine built on a DNA platform to be granted emergency use authorisation.
As per BBC, the company has said it hopes to start trials in children aged 2 and over soon.
What other vaccines are likely to be approved for use among children?
Bharat Biotech's Covaxin
Serum Institute of India's Covovax
Johnson & Johnson
Biological E's Corbevax
What is Covaxin's trial status among children?
According to FIT, the data from Phase 2 and 3 clinical trials conducted on children aged between 2 and 18 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.
The AIIMS Chief had previously said that results are expected to be released by September.
Speaking in the Lok Sabha, Union Minister of State for Health Bharti Pawar had said, “The outcome of these trials will depend on data emerging from the trial for the purpose of its approval and availability in the country."
What about SII's Covovax, J&J and Corbevax?
Pune-based KEM Hospital and Research Centre has begun enrolling children for Phase 2-3 clinical trials of Covovax for those aged 2-17 years with a sample size of 920 children in two age groups across 10 test sites, The Indian Express reported.
The trials for the first group will be conducted for those between 2 and 11 years and the second between 12 and 17 years, FIT reported.
Covovax has been developed by American biotechnology company Novavax. Serum Institute of India, which is producing the vaccine, will conduct the trials in India.
J&J is currently awaiting permission to conduct COVID-19 vaccine trials for children aged 12 years to 17 years in India, FIT reported.
It has already received emergency use approval for its single-dose vaccine, which will be supplied via an agreement with Hyderabad-based Biological E Limited.
Earlier in September, the DGCI gave permission to Biological E to conduct Phase 2-3 clinical trials of Corbevax for children between 5-18 years, with certain conditions.
As per reports, Corbevax has Phase 3 trials underway and will be released by October, FIT reported.
(With inputs from FIT)