The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) on April 29 recommended Covovax for use in 12-17-year-olds in India.
This is the Indian version of the COVID-19 vaccine, manufactured by the the US based Novavax.
According to the details, the Novavax had shown an efficacy of over 90 percent in the phase 3 clinical trials and is being produced in the Serum Institute of India.
ALSO READ: Covaxin approved for restricted emergency use in children aged 6-12 years
Until now, only Covaxin by Bharat Biotech is being offered for the 15-17 year age group while kids in the 12-14 year age group can avail Corbevax by Biological E.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
However, there is no clarity if the Union health ministry will procure Covovax for the vaccination of adolescents though government vaccination centres, but it is likely that the vaccine may be made available at private hospitals.
In the meantime, Pune-based SII is yet to declare the per dose cost of the vaccine for India even though it has been exporting the vaccine in several countries beginning January this year.
Earlier on April 26, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) granted restricted emergency-use authorisation to Bharat Biotech's Covaxin for children in the 6 to 12 years age group.
However, the regulator asked Bharat Biotech to submit safety data, including the data on adverse event with due analysis, every 15 days for the first two months and monthly thereafter up to five months.
The no objection certificate was granted to Bharat Biotech on April 25 after two-month-long deliberations on the recommendation given by the Subject Expert Committee on COVID-19 last week.
The government panel recently recommended approval of Biological E's Covid-19 vaccine Corbevax for use in children in the 5 to 12 years age group.