Making Covid-19 vaccines available for kids would be 'milestone achievement', says Dr Randeep Guleria
All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) director Dr Randeep Guleria has said making vaccines against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) available for children would be a "milestone achievement," as concerns persist over the impact of a potential third Covid-19 wave on those under the age of 18, including children.
"If the Zydus Cadila vaccine gets approval it would be an option," Dr Guleria told news agency PTI. The senior doctor also reiterated his comments from earlier this week, saying that data from phase 2 and 3 trials of Bharat Biotech's Covaxin on the 2-18 age group is likely to be available by September following which the vaccine might receive approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI).
If the Pfizer vaccine is approved before that, it could also be an option, Dr Guleria further reiterated. "Availability of Covid-19 vaccine for children would pave the way for the reopening of schools and outdoor activities. Schools have to be reopened as there has been a major loss in studies in the last 18 months due to the pandemic," he stressed.
Dr Guleria also cautioned that though children have mild Covid-19 infections and some are even asymptomatic, they can be carriers of the viral disease.
While experts are near unanimous that a third wave of Covid-19 would hit India in the near future, they are divided over its impact on kids. While some say that this age group would be the most vulnerable, others, including Dr Guleria, have dismissed this theory.
Currently, every Indian citizen above the age of 18 is eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine shot. On Friday, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) DG Dr Balram Bhargava said till there is more data, "we won't be able to vaccinate children at large."