When will COVID-19 vaccines be available for children in India? Here's what ICMR-NIV director has to say
New Delhi, Aug 19: Vaccines for children may be available by September and the trials for inoculating those between 2 to 18 years are underway, Priya Abraham, Director of the National Institute of Virology has said.
In an interview to India Science, an OTT platform of the Department of Science and Technology, Abraham said phase 2/3 clinical trials are in process for those between 2 to 18 years of age.
"Hopefully the results will be available soon and they will be presented to regulators. Probably by September or just after September, we may have a vaccine for children... this is Covaxin," she said.
The trials for Zydus Cadila are on and the vaccine can be made available for inoculating children. "Even that (Zydus Cadila vaccine) will be available," she said. The NIV is a body under the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) under the Ministry of Health. Last month, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya had told BJP MPs that Covid vaccination for children is likely to start soon.
Currently, only those who are 18 or above are eligible for vaccination against coronavirus. On other vaccine candidates, Abraham said apart from Zydus Cadila, which will be the first DNA vaccine, another vaccine from Gennova, which is an mRNA vaccine, vaccine candidate of Biological E and Novavax, which will be manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, are in the pipeline.
In response to a question on the Delta-plus variant, she said this variant is less likely to spread than the Delta variant itself. She said the antibodies produced in the bodies of vaccinated people were checked against this variant and it was found that the efficacy of antibodies was reduced two to three fold. "Yet, the vaccines are still protective against the variants," she said.
Vaccines may show a little less efficacy, but they are very important to prevent serious forms of disease due to which patients may get hospitalised and even die. "So, whatever the variant, the vaccine is till now protective against all, including the Delta variant. So, there should not be any hesitancy at all," she said.