Children On Way to Get Covid Jab Soon. A Look at Likely Vaccine Options Besides Covaxin, ZyCov-D for Kids

After the subject expert committee (SEC) approved Covaxin for emergency use on children aged 2 to 18, worried parents can now heave a sigh of relief. There is now one other vaccine option to choose from besides the already-approved Zydus Cadila that will become a part of the national vaccination drive.

Schools have reopened in many states and paediatric cases are on the rise across the country. The central government is looking to begin vaccinations for co-morbid children aged 12 to 17 latest by October-November, as reported by Times of India.

Highly-affected states such as Kerala, Maharashtra and Mizoram have reported Covid-19 cases in children over the past few weeks. In Kerala, coronavirus antibodies have been found in at least 40 per cent children, according to a sero survey.

A proper vaccination drive for children is needed as soon as possible. Though known to have a mild effect on children, Covid-19 can lead to a sometimes deadly condition called multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).

“India’s greatest national treasure is our children. We can get immunity from Covid-19 virus either through infection or through vaccination. The infection was 4% among children in the first wave, whereas 10-15% in the second wave. This is an encouraging news that the central drug authority has recommended granting emergency use authorisation to Covaxin for children in the 2 to 18 years age group with certain conditions. I am very much sure that this initiative will be a gamechanger to protect our children and adolescents,” said Dr Sujeet Ranjan, associate director, nutrition, Tata Trusts.

Even as Bharat Biotech awaits regulatory approvals for the emergency use of its homemade vaccine, here is a list of all the vaccines lined up for children in India:

Zydus Cadila: The three-dose needle-free vaccine ZyCov-D was approved in August for emergency use and can be administered to adults as well as adolescents aged 12 and above. The DNA-based vaccine, however, is yet to be made available on the market. It is the first Covid-19 vaccine approved for adolescents in India.

Covaxin: The latest to be approved by Drugs Controller General of India, Covaxin is Bharat Biotech’s homemade vaccine and has sufficient data about its efficacy on adults. However, unlike Covaxin for adults and other Covid-19 vaccines available in multi-dose vials, the paediatric Covaxin will use a pre-filled syringe mechanism. The dosage for children would be 0.5ml, the same as for adults.

Novavax/Covovax: In July, India’s drug regulator granted permission to Serum Institute of India (SII) for conducting second and third phase trials of Novavax, which will be known as Covovax in India, on children aged 2 to 17 with certain conditions. Serum institute is also conducting clinical trials in the age group of 7 to 11. It is already conducting trials of Covovax for the 12 to 17 age group and has presented safety data for an initial 100 participants. Novavax is yet to be granted approval by India’s drug regulator.

Corbevax: The DCGI has also granted permission to Hyderabad-based Biological E Limited to conduct second and third phase clinical trials a homegrown vaccine on children aged between 5 and 18 with certain conditions. The trial for Corbevax will be conducted across 10 sites. The shot is an RBD protein sub-unit vaccine and is currently undergoing second and third phase clinical trials on adults.

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