January 14, 2022 8:04:54 pm
By Dr Sreelekha Daruvuri
The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted a lot of us in many different ways — our physical and mental health, as well as the economy. Even though vaccinations for adults were available (Covaxin, Covishield, Sputnik) and brought some relief, it also raised many questions about protecting young citizens as well. Many caregivers were worried if children would be able to get vaccinated against the virus as well. The infection rate in children is less compared to the adult population and so are the complications, but that does not mean they don’t need to be vaccinated. Covaxin was officially approved for children aged 2 to 18 and from January 3, 2022, and children aged 15 to 18 can get the Covaxin first dose of vaccine.
Covaxin for children
* Children born in 2007 or after are eligible for the first dose of vaccine.
* Appointment can be taken online or onsite (walk-in). Please note, only Covaxin will be administered, as Emergency Use Listing (EUL) authorisation has been granted only to Covaxin by the World Health Organization.
* The gap between Covaxin and any other vaccine should be a minimum of two weeks and a doctor’s advice is to be taken before getting the jab.
* Covaxin is safe to take and recommended for children suffering from asthma, kidney, or lung diseases. But, it’s advisable to speak with your doctor before getting the jab. If there are any side effects, report immediately to your healthcare provider.
* If someone is allergic to any of the vaccine’s components, it’s best to consult your doctor before getting vaccinated.
Why should children get vaccinated?
Covid is a respiratory infection that affects individuals of any age group. It can cause no symptoms to dreadful complications like respiratory failure and death. In India, so far we have seen two waves that affected both adults and children. In the first wave, the infection rate in children was less, but in the second wave, it increased. The complication rate in the form of MIS-c increased, too. This is one of the main reasons why it is important to vaccinate children.
Older children have complications like long-Covid which is manifested after 2-3 months of recovery, like adults. Now that we have the adult population getting vaccinated, this makes children more vulnerable to infection, especially the variants. This will shift the burden of infection to children. Though, according to experts, 60 per cent seroprevalence occurred in the pediatric age group, we are yet to understand how long this will protect the individual. Delaying the vaccination can make their reservoirs.
The vaccine is now permitted to be given to children between 15-18 years in India. The study will continue and safety data will be submitted to the health committee every two weeks for the first few months. At the same time, children should be educated on how to follow safety protocols and the same should be practised at home and in schools.
If your child is exhibiting symptoms of Covid, make sure to contact a pediatrician or a general physician immediately. Speak to the professional to determine if the child has Covid and a treatment plan will be set accordingly. It may be scary to follow a new protocol, but it’s important to remember that Covaxin has gotten approval for kids aged 15-18 now. The vaccine tested is safe and effective, and while data continues to be gathered, there should be no fear about getting vaccinated. It reduces the chances of grave illness and complications, helping children recover faster.
(The writer is MBBS with 5+ years of experience working as primary care physician on the MFine platform)
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