When would Zydus Cadila's anti-Covid vaccine be available for children? 'Need more data,' says Dr VK Paul
Amid concerns over the impact of a potential third wave of the coronavirus pandemic on children, Dr VK Paul, member (health) of the NITI Aayog said on Thursday “more data” is needed before Zydus Cadila’s three-dose vaccine against Covid-19 is made available for children.
“DCGI is examining it. More data is needed. The scientific process has to be completed. We have to be lucky that it is effective and safe,” Dr Paul told news agency ANI when questioned on the time span within which the ZyCoV-D, India’s second indigenous anti-Covid shot after Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, would be available for children.
Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila submitted an application to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for emergency use authorisation (EUA) on July 1, seeking approval for its DNA-based vaccine to be administered to everyone above the age of 12; currently, all citizens aged 18 or above are eligible to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
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ZyCoV-D is one of two vaccines, which, experts believe, would, in near future, be granted approval to be administered to children, the other being Covaxin. Aiims director Dr Randeep Guleria has frequently said that Covaxin is likely to be approved for children by September and also described Zydus’ vaccine as “another option” should it be approved. However, he has also said that making vaccines available for children would be a “milestone achievement.”
Earlier in the day on Friday, the Union government submitted in the Delhi high court that clinical trials for vaccines for children below the age of 18 are going on, and are on the verge of completion. Appearing on behalf of the Centre, additional solicitor general Chetan Sharma that the Zydus Cadila vaccine may be available for the 12-18 age group “in the near future.” The high court, however, observed that it would be a “disaster” if vaccines are administered without clinical trials, especially to children.
The court was hearing a PIL filed on behalf of a minor seeking inoculation of the 12-17 age group on the grounds that a possible third Covid-19 wave would affect children more.