'Are we in rush?': Dr Naresh Trehan questions as schools reopen across country

Published on Aug 29, 2021 01:54 PM IST

Urging extreme caution, the Medanta chairman pointed to the fact that Covid-19 vaccine drive for kids is yet to be announced.

A school in Chandigarh (Used only for representation)
A school in Chandigarh (Used only for representation)
By | Written by Karan Manral, New Delhi

Medanta chairman Dr Naresh Trehan questioned on Sunday if states are in a "rush" to reopen schools, pointing towards the fact that the vaccination drive for children against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is yet to be announced.

Also Read | Covid-19 vaccine drive to speed up further in September; 240 million to be inoculated

"Is it that we should be patient for a few more months, then a vaccine arrives, and then kids can get vaccinated and go to schools? Or, is it that we are in a rush to open schools for what reason I don't know? Extreme caution should be taken while deciding under what circumstances we should reopen schools," the senior doctor said, according to ANI.

He reminded that children in India are currently not being vaccinated. "If a large number of children fall sick, we don't have good facilities to take care of them. Given our population size, we should be cautious. The fact is that a vaccine is around the corner," Dr Trehan further said, referring apparently to Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila's three-dose ZyCoV-D vaccine.

Also Read | 'We have to save our children': AIIMS doctor weighs in on schools reopening

ZyCoV-D, which received Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on August 20, will be administered on beneficiaries aged 12 and above. It is the first vaccine to have been approved for an age group below 18, and among six jabs to be cleared by the DCGI till now.

Also Read | Zydus Cadila's Covid vaccine for children over 12 approved

The only other vaccine which was tested among kids is Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech's Covaxin. It is likely to be approved for children in September. Incidentally, both Covaxin and ZyCoV-D are India's only two indigenously made anti-Covid shots thus far.

With the devastating second wave of Covid-19 now receding, schools have already reopened in several states, at least for senior classes. Schools in most other states are scheduled to open from September 1.

Recently, as many as 22 people, including 16 children and six adults from a Mumbai-based school tested positive for Covid-19, forcing the civic body to seal the school's premises. Among 16 children, four are below the age of 12, while the rest are aged between 12-18.

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