Clinical trials of coronavirus vaccines for children were almost complete, the Centre told the Delhi High Court on Friday, PTI reported. In an affidavit to the court, the Centre submitted that children will be inoculated expeditiously once the government’s expert body on Covid-19 vaccination gives permission.

A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh was hearing a petition filed by a 12-year old, seeking directions from the court to prioritise vaccination for those aged 12-17 and their parents. Based on news reports, the petition said that the infection could prove to be “more virulent” in a potential third wave of the pandemic and so children should not be ignored.

“Other countries of the world, where Covid-19 pandemic has been felt, like United States and Canada, have already started administering appropriate dose of vaccine to children,” the petition added.

Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma, appearing for the Centre, told the court that pharmaceutical company Zydus Cadila has finished its vaccine trials for those aged between 12-18. The vaccine will be available for use among children in the near future once the statutory provisions are met, Sharma said, according to The Indian Express.

Responding to a petition in the Supreme Court, the Centre had said last month that vaccines produced by Zydus Cadila will soon be given approval for use.

Meanwhile, in its affidavit to the Delhi High Court, the Centre also pointed out that the Drug Controller General of India has permitted Bharat Biotech to conduct clinical trial on children in the age group of two to 18 years for its Covaxin shot.

On hearing the submissions, the court refused the petitioner’s demand to make vaccine trials for children a time-bound process.

“Everybody is in a hurry...Everybody is for the vaccine but a foolproof trial should be there, otherwise it will be a disaster,” the court said.

The court gave more time to the Centre and listed the case for next hearing on September 6.