Director of the India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi Dr. Randeep Guleria has said the country should consider reopening schools in a "staggered way" for places having positivity rates below 5 per cent.
Most schools in India have been shut since the first nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19 was imposed in March of last year. He said, "I am a proponent of opening up schools in a staggered way, for districts that are seeing less virus circulation."
Dr. Randeep Guleria said children have had a good deal of exposure to the virus in India and that many of them have developed natural immunity. He said Covid-19 vaccines for children would be made available in India by September of this year. Preliminary data from Covaxin's clinical trials for children is encouraging, he added.
COVID VACCINES FOR CHILDREN: WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS
COVAXIN: The trials of Bharat Biotech's Covaxin on children are underway and the results are expected by September, news agency ANI quoted AIIMS director Dr. Randeep Guleria as saying.
Randeep Guleria's statement comes as the second dose of Covaxin is likely to be administered to children aged 2-6 years in trials next week. The second dose of Covaxin has already been given to children between the ages of 6-12 years at the Delhi AIIMS.
On June 22, Randeep Guleria had told India Today TV that a Covid-19 vaccine would be available for children by September.
ZYDUS CADILA: Zydus Cadila has concluded the clinical trial of its DNA-based Covid-19 vaccine ZyCoV-D for the 12-18 age group and that it could soon be available in the country.
In an affidavit dated July 15, Satyendra Singh, Under Secretary to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said, "It is submitted that Zydus Cadila which is developing a DNA vaccine has successfully concluded its clinical trial for the 12-18 age group."
Singh added that Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila's DNA vaccine is "subject to the statutory permissions, the same may be available in the near future for children of the 12-18 age group ".
PFIZER: Randeep Guleria said If Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine gets a green signal in India then that could also be an option for children. US vaccine makers Moderna and Pfizer have been insisting on an indemnity clause before committing to supplying their Covid-19 vaccines to India.
No talks of vaccines for children in India with Moderna and Sputnik V
MODERNA: The European medicines watchdog on Friday approved the use of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine for children aged 12 to 17, making it the second jab for adolescents for use on the continent. "The use of the Spikevax vaccine in children from 12 to 17 years of age will be the same as in people aged 18 and above," the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said, using Moderna's brand name.
The vaccine will be given in two injections, each four weeks apart.
The decision by the Amsterdam-based agency follows the approval of the first vaccine for European youngsters, by Pfizer/BioNTech in May. The effects of Spikevax have been studied among 3,732 children aged 12 to 17 years, the EMA said.
Early trials of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine among children ages 12 to 17 have started in Moscow, city officials said Monday.
Deputy Mayor Anastasia Rakova said 100 volunteers have been recruited who haven't been previously infected with the coronavirus and don't have health issues that would prevent them from getting the shots. Rakova said the youths will receive a small dose of Sputnik V than what is usually administered for adults.
A survey by AIIMS and the WHO had found that SARS-CoV-2 sero-positivity rate among children was high and comparable to the adult population. Hence, it is unlikely that any future third wave of the prevailing Covid-19 variant would disproportionately affect children aged two years or older.
Following protocols such as masking, social distancing and proper ventilation can allow schools to reopen since prolonged closure has affected children adversely, Dr Guleria said.