Covaxin has demonstrated a good immune response among children during trials, the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation said on Sunday, reported ANI.
Bharat Biotech’s vaccine for coronavirus on Saturday was approved by the Drugs Controlled General of India for emergency use in children from 12 to 18 years of age. The vaccination programme will be opened for children over the age of 15 from January 3.
On Sunday, Dr NK Arora, chairman of the Covid Task Force working group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation said that Covaxin’s immune response in children was slightly better than in adults.
“Secondly, this vaccine is a safe vaccine, and even local effects like pain, swelling in the arms are much less as compared to adults,” he said. “We would like to offer this protection to our adolescents.”
Das added that the vaccine’s immunogenicity was examined among children as its efficacy cannot be studied among them, reported ANI. Immunogenicity refers to the level of antibodies produced in response to a vaccine. A good number of antibodies offers better protection against disease.
“In fact, as I said, adolescents produce better levels of antibodies compared to their adults,” he said. “Here I would also like to say that the same Covaxin dose is given to children as an adult and the interpretation between the doses is also four weeks. So as far as implementation of the [vaccination] programme is concerned, there is no special effort required.”
Das added that it was the need of the hour to vaccinate children as they attend school and colleges, where a large number of people gather. He said that they could also bring the virus to their homes, infecting elderly members of their families.
“Although the disease’s effects are much milder, as we know many schools have opened,” he said. “A lot of parents are still not very confident in sending their children to schools. So this vaccination drive will also be giving confidence to them.”