Hyderabad: A Covid vaccine exclusively for children and adolescents is likely to be introduced in the coming days or weeks through the ongoing government-run immunisation drive across Telangana and elsewhere in the country.
With a sizeable number of individuals in above 18-year category getting Covid vaccines administered, the focus has now shifted to vaccinating adolescents aged between 12 years and 18 years, which could pave the way towards ending the pandemic.
There is a clear indication that this month, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) could green light the launch of Covid vaccine for adolescents in the age group of 12 years and 18 years across the country, senior State health officials familiar with the issue said.
At present, there are two major vaccine candidates, including Covaxin developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech and ZyCov-D manufactured by Gujarat-based pharmaceutical giant Zydus Cadila, which have been tested among children and adolescents in the country.
In fact, in August, the Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) issued emergency use authorisation of ZyCoV-D vaccine to Zydus Cadila, which will be administered to children between 12 years and 17 years. The ZyCoV-D vaccine is non-needle based and will be administered in three doses.
According to reports, the ZyCoV-D vaccine is the frontrunner and could possibly be the first Covid vaccine in India to get a nod for usage among adolescents.
The Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech has completed and submitted the trial data for children in the age group of 2 years and 18 years to the DCGI. The ZyCoV-D vaccine that underwent phase three trials included 1,000 volunteers while the Covaxin phase three trials included 525 volunteers aged between 2 years and 17 years from across the country.
Apart from Bharat Biotech and Zydus, Serum Institute of India has been accorded permission by the Indian regulatory authorities to conduct clinical trials of Covovax vaccine for 100 children aged between 7 years and 11 years. Covovax has been developed by a US-based biotech company Novovax and Serum Institute of India is the Indian manufacturer of the vaccine.
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