Reports that two vaccines for children could secure emergency use authorisation by September will be met with a huge sigh of relief. After 17 months of being restricted to indoors and forced into online learning, this is a big breakthrough for the young ones. So far, most states are reluctant to restart schools despite detected infections falling massively.
Covaxin and Zydus-Cadila’s three-dose vaccine are the two candidates that will hit the market first. Corbevax from Biological E and Baylor School of Medicine is also suitable for children according to its makers. Covaxin has been tested on children between ages 2 and 18. So all school going children will be eligible for it. But it is incumbent on Covaxin to massively scale up production over the next month. So far, Covaxin has struggled to keep up with its commitments. A long drawn out affair will not help children raring to get back to school.
The other vaccine, Zydus-Cadila has been tested for the 12-plus age group and it will take a while for scale-up. With many women preferring Covaxin, going forward GoI should consider reserving its doses for women and children so that these two groups will get maximum benefit. Preorders for J&J and Covovax will grow the vaccine bouquet and ease the pressures on Covishield and Covaxin. Safely reopening schools must be given utmost priority now. Every day of schooling that children lose is also diminishing the country’s economic and human capital.
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