COVID vaccine for aged 5-11 years- Govt. Panel recommends Corbevax
Created by Shikha Batra Updated on Apr 23, 2022
On Tuesday, for the first time in nearly two and a half months with 1,009 more people testing positive for the infection in the last 24 hours, the daily tally of Covid-19 crossed the 1,000 mark. Delhi has seen a spurt in cases with the positivity rate registering a nearly three-fold rise between April 11 and April 18. With a steady surge in Covid-19 infections, wherein the active case count has reached 2641, an increase of nearly 400% since April 1, the vaccination coverage for even the younger age group population has become the need of the hour.
Keeping this in view, the drug regulator’s expert panel on Covid vaccine has recommended granting emergency use authorisation to Biological E’s Corbevax for use in children in the 5-11 years’ age group, official sources said on Thursday. The good news is that the final nod for Corbevax by the Drugs Controller General (DCGI) of India is expected by next week.
If DCGI approves the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) recommendation, Corbevax will emerge as the only Covid-19 vaccine to be administered to children as young as five years old. As a part of the government’s Covid vaccination drive, Corbevax is currently the only Covid-19 jab that has been approved for 12-14 age group children and Covaxin to those in the 15-18 years group. According to the official data, 2.53 crore beneficiaries in the 12-14 years age group have been given the first dose of Corbevax, and 12,47,298 are fully vaccinated.
The two doses of Hyderabad-based Biological E’s Corbevax shot is being administered at a gap of 28 days through the intramuscular route. It is India’s first indigenously developed Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) Protein sub-unit vaccine against Covid-19. This vaccine has been developed by Biological E in partnership with the Baylor College of Medicine at Houston, Texas, on the same platform as the Hepatitis-B vaccine. It can be stored at 2-8 degrees celsius, which is best suited for India’s requirements.
In the wake of reopening of schools, wherein the government is using a decentralised approach and has told schools to take a call, leaving unvaccinated children vulnerable, this is being considered as a welcome move by the experts as well as the parents.
Principals of several schools have welcomed the decision of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) to keep schools open amid the spike in Covid cases in the city. In the past two years due to pandemic-induced disruptions such as shutting down of schools, learning gaps have been noticed. Stressing on the importance of continuing with offline classes, the heads of several schools said it was being ensured that all protocols are being followed.
According to Dr Shahid Jameel, noted Virologist and former head of the scientific advisory group to Indian SARS-COV-2 Genomics Consortia, “It doesn’t make sense any more to keep schools shut. Children have lost enough in learning. Closing all schools means that government schoolchildren will lose out on the one nutritious meal they get in the day.” On being asked about 27% of patients in hospitals are still children, he further added, “I keep taking people back to the fourth ICMR sero survey done in July 2021. At that time, all schools were shut. Yet seroprevalence in children was 52%. More than half the children surveyed got infected in a home setting. To say that children will get infected in schools is not logically or scientifically correct.
Dr. Anamika Dubey, Senior Consultant, pediatrics at Madhukar Rainbow Children’s Hospital said, “In small children, the initial symptom is vomiting, followed by high grade fever and diarrhoea. Older children often complain about persistent headache. Lung involvement is extremely rare in children, unlike adults.”
Doctors said Covid cases are expected to surge in the coming days, “Covid -appropriate behaviour is a must to prevent any potential crisis. This includes the mask mandate.”
India will begin inoculating children in the 5-11 age group, against Covid-19, as soon as it receives recommendations regarding the same from the expert group. The final nod of DGCI is awaited before the roll out happens, according to Union Health Minister, Mansukh Mandaviya.