Time for schools to reopen in phased manner, says Covid-19 panel chief
NTAGI chief Dr NK Arora said that ZyCoV-D, the DNA-based Covid-19 vaccine approved for children in the age group of 12-17 years, would be rolled out in October.
The time has come for schools to resume classes in a phased manner, the chief of Centre's working group on coronavirus disease (Covid-19) said on Wednesday.
Dr NK Arora, who heads the working group under the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI), cautioned that the parents and other members of the family of the school students should get themselves vaccinated against Covid-19.
Dr Arora also suggested that teachers, non-teaching staff as well as drivers associated with schools should be vaccinated to create a protective ring around the students, even as he said that "children don't get a severe disease or get very sick with Covid-19."
Earlier in the day, Union health and family welfare minister Mansukh Mandaviya had urged the states and Union territories to get all the school teachers vaccinated on priority before September 5, when India celebrates Teachers' Day.
He said the Centre would provide an additional two crore doses of Covid-19 to the states this month.
Meanwhile, Dr Arora announced that ZyCoV-D, Zydus Cadila's Covid-19 vaccine approved for children in the age group of 12-17 years, would be rolled out in October. The vaccine received emergency-use approval on August 20.
He added that the NTAGI would conduct a meeting soon to chalk out a plan for introducing the ZyCoV-D vaccine in the Centre's ongoing inoculation drive by prioritising children with comorbidities.
The NTAGI chairman said it is estimated that less than 1% of around 12 crore adolescents in the age group of 12-18 years in India may have comorbidities, according to news agency PTI.
"Healthy children will be given vaccines only after the immunisation drive for adults is complete," Dr Arora said.
A first-of-its-kind DNA vaccine that produces the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 to elicit an immune response, ZyCoV-D is an intradermal vaccine that would be using a ‘needle-free injector’, which its Ahmedabad-based manufacturer Cadila Healthcare Ltd said would help in reducing side-effects.