Coronavirus Briefing Newsletter – Times of India

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The Count
  • India’s health ministry Sunday confirmed 36,083 new cases and 493 fatalities, taking the total to 32,192,576 cases (385,336 active cases) and 431,225 fatalities.
  • Worldwide: Over 206.7 million cases and 4.35 million fatalities.
  • Vaccination in India: 542,952,183 doses. Worldwide: Over 4.65 billion doses.
TODAY’S TAKE
When a vaccine for kids arrives…
When a vaccine for kids arrives…
The priority

  • Children over the age of 12 with underlying medical conditions are likely to be vaccinated first, while healthy kids are unlikely to get jabs this year, reports Economic Times, quoting government experts.
  • If the drug regulator approves administration of vaccines among children above 12, the Covid-19 working group, which advises the government on vaccines, feels that in the first phase only children with comorbidities should be given shots. The guidelines on vaccinating children with underlying medical conditions are likely to be issued soon.
  • According to people in the know, children in the priority group will include those who have undergone kidney transplant, have congenital heart disease and terminal illnesses like cancer.

The reason

  • “Children have mild disease and at this time, immunising 400 million children will leave adults, who are more likely to get hospitalised if they get infected, unvaccinated. Adding this cohort (children) at this point will disrupt the current vaccination drive,” NK Arora, chair, Covid-19 working group, told ET.
  • “Healthy children will have to be taken up for immunisation only after most of the adult population has been immunised,” added Arora.
  • Government experts are of the view that there is no need for every child to be vaccinated to attend school.

The status

  • As of now, no vaccine in India has regulatory approval for being given to children. Covaxin’s clinical trial for children is underway to assess its safety and immunogenicity. Zydus Cadila, which had included children between 12 and 17 years in its trial, is awaiting emergency use authorisation (EUA) for its DNA-based vaccine. Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) is also conducting phase 2/3 trials of Covid vaccine Covovax on children aged 2 to 17 years.
TELL ME ONE THING
Why private hospitals want to bring vaccines home
Why private hospitals want to bring vaccines home
  • The average uptake or utilisation of anti-Covid shots in private hospitals is around 60-70%, while on some days it is even less than 10%, industry executives say.
  • Door- to-door vaccination, they say, can help in significantly expanding the coverage but many states and union territories don’t allow it. States like Delhi and Haryana are yet to allow door-to-door vaccination against Covid-19, even as some like Maharashtra – which have recently started – are witnessing major gains in terms of coverage.
  • With free vaccines available at government centres, private hospitals say their target audience is limited and therefore, innovative measures are needed to push the uptake and reach out to those who are still unvaccinated.
  • “The private sector can play a very important role in ramping up the coverage, especially by reaching out to those who have restricted mobility. Around 7.2% of the population requires vaccination at their doorstep and is not getting it. Allowing private sector to take the vaccines to these people will help expansion of coverage at once,” Dr Charu Dutt Arora, consultant physician and Covid care expert at Asian Institute of Medical Sciences told TOI.
  • “At the current service charge of Rs 150, it is not viable for most private hospitals to make extra efforts and organise camps in housing societies, corporates campuses etc because that includes several overheads,” a senior executive from a Delhi hospital said.
  • Currently, out of the total 45,000-47,000 vaccination sessions per day, only about 2000-4000 are in the private sector, which has 25% of the total locally manufactured Covid vaccines earmarked for it.
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Written by: Rakesh Rai, Judhajit Basu, Sumil Sudhakaran, Tejeesh N.S. Behl
Research: Rajesh Sharma

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