Useless statements being made to create panic: Health Minister Mandaviya on vaccine shortage charge

NEW DELHI: Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Tuesday told BJP MPs that Covid vaccination for children is likely to start soon, sources said.

During the BJP parliamentary party meeting, Mandaviya said that the Covid vaccination drive is going on in full swing in the country. Currently, only those who are 18 or above are eligible for vaccination against the coronavirus.

Very soon a vaccine is expected for children and inoculation for them will start, the sources quoted the minister as telling the MPs.

The government had earlier said that Covid vaccination of children in the 12-18 age group may start by the end of July or in August.

“Trial for the Zydus Cadila vaccine is almost complete. By July-end or in August, we might be able to start administering this vaccine to children of 12-18 age group,” Dr N K Arora, chairman of the COVID-19 working group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI), had said recently.

The government had also informed the Supreme Court recently that the vaccine developed by Zydus Cadila will be available soon for children who are 12 and above subject to statutory permissions.

Zydus Cadila is likely to soon apply to the Drugs Controller General of India for emergency use authorisation for its vaccine ZyCoV-D, which it claims can be given to both adults and children.

Earlier, AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria had told PTI that making vaccine available for children will be a milestone achievement and pave the way for reopening of schools and resumption of outdoor activities.

He had said the data of phase two and three trial of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin on two to 18 years age group is expected by September.

The vaccine can be available for children in India around that time following approval from the drug regulator, he had said.

“If the Pfizer vaccine gets approval before that, then it can also be an option for children,” Dr Guleria had said” If the Zydus vaccine gets approval, it will be another option,” Guleria had said.