Three coronavirus vaccines for children have been approved for restricted emergency use by India’s drug controller, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Tuesday.
When a vaccine is chosen for restricted use during emergencies, it has to be administered to only those patients who are in dire need of it based on their medical condition.
The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation has approved Covaxin for children aged between 6 and 12, Corbevax for the 5-12 age group and two-dose ZyCoV-D for those aged 12 and above.
The drug regulator had granted emergency use authorisation to three-dose ZyCoV-D vaccine, developed by Zydus Cadilla, in August for children aged 12 and above. This is being used in India’s immunisation programme.
Covaxin has been developed by biotech company Bharat Biotech and Corbevax by biopharmaceutical firm Biological E.
With Mandaviya’s announcement, India now has an approved vaccine for children aged five and above. However, the vaccine for this population will be rolled out after the government takes a call on it.
Corbevax is currently being used for immunising children aged between 12 and 18 against the coronavirus disease.
On January 3, India had started vaccinating children between 15 to 18 years of age amid a surge of cases in India driven by the Omicron variant. The vaccination for children between the age of 12 and 14 had begun on March 16.
India has so far administered 1,87,99,88,160 Covid-19 vaccine shots, according to the health ministry. Of these, 85,28,73,736 residents have received both the doses and 2,58,21,470 have been administered the booster jab.