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‘Decision on vaccinating kids being continuously examined’: Dr V K Paul

Asked if the government is mulling a plan to procure the Pfizer's mRNA vaccine approved for the 12-18 years age group in the US, Dr V K Paul said India will require approximately 25-26 crore doses to vaccinate the children.

Written by Kaunain Sheriff M | New Delhi |
Updated: June 5, 2021 7:49:06 am
Dr V K Paul heads the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19. (File Photo)

The head of India’s Covid-19 task force on Friday said the decision on vaccinating children is being “continuously examined” and emphasised that once the rollout for the children takes place, all of them have to be covered at the same time.

Asked if the government is mulling a plan to procure the Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine approved for the 12-18 years age group in the US, Dr V K Paul said India will require approximately 25-26 crore doses to vaccinate the children.

“On the issue of which vaccine to be used for children, please remember child cohort is not a small cohort. My rough analysis is that if it is between 18-12 years, it itself is around 13-14 crore. This means we need 25-26 crore doses. We cannot have some children getting and others not getting it,” Paul said.

He also pointed out that besides Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, Zydus Cadila’s vaccine is also being tested on children — indicating that these two vaccines are potential vaccinates to immunise children.

“We will have to take this into account and strategise. The first is which vaccine to give… Yes, currently vaccine ‘A’ (Pfizer) is suitable…but once you have to take a decision, we have to keep in mind who were are trying to cover….I can assure you that this is continuously being examined,” Paul said.

He reiterated that no decision has been taken on granting indemnity to both Pfizer as well Indian manufacturers against the costs of compensation for severe side effects.

“In principle, they (foreign manufacturers) expect indemnity to be given. This is what they have said has been the case all over the world. We have also checked with other countries… Particular companies have requested and we are in negotiation with them but there is no decision at the moment,” Paul said.

The Indian drug regulator has not granted indemnity against the costs of compensation for severe side effects to the manufacturers of any of the three Covid-19 vaccines to which it has issued emergency use authorisation.

PM reviews progress of vaccination drive Prime Minister Narendra Modi had chaired a high-level meeting on Friday to review the progress of India’s vaccination drive.

“PM was briefed about the current availability of vaccines and the roadmap for ramping it up. He was also apprised about the efforts undertaken to help various vaccine manufacturers ramp up production of vaccines. Government of India is actively working with vaccine manufacturers & helping them in terms of facilitating more production units, financing and supply of raw materials,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

COVID-19 in children |Some important questions answered

India administered 33,57,713 vaccine doses on Friday. “31,01,109 beneficiaries were vaccinated for 1st dose and 2,56,604 beneficiaries received 2nd dose of vaccine as per the provisional report till 7 P.M,” the Health Ministry said.

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