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COVID-19 | Children at high risk in 'upcoming third wave', ensure ambulance services: NCPCR to Health Ministry

A third wave of COVID-19 is projected to hit the country and according to experts, it may affect children in large numbers, the child rights' body said.

May 20, 2021 / 06:48 PM IST
Representative image (Source: PTI)

Representative image (Source: PTI)

Infants would be at heightened risk during the onset of a third COVID-19 pandemic wave, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) said on May 20, as it asked the Union Health Ministry to ensure ambulances for children and emergency neonatal transport services.

A third wave of COVID-19 is projected to hit the country and according to experts it may affect children in large numbers, the NCPCR pointed out in its letter addressed to the Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan.

"There are guidelines on the management of the new born in a maternity ward and in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), but there is an urgent need to reorganize a Neonatal/Children Emergency Transport Service (NETS) to prepare specifically for neonatal and children for third wave of COVID-19," it stated.

"Keeping in view high risk involved for infants and children in upcoming third wave of COVID-19, you are requested to kindly issue necessary directions for emergency transport services/ambulances suitable for children and neonatals," the child rights' body added.

Also Read | Special task force will be formed to protect children from third COVID wave: Arvind Kejriwal

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

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.

How many types of vaccines are there?

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.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

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.

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The NCPCR has also written to Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) chief Dr Balram Bhargava, requesting him to share the "guidelines/protocol for treatment and clinical management of COVID-19 positive children".

According to a three-member expert panel set up by the central government, the third wave of pandemic may hit India after six months. The current round of surge in infections may settle by July, the experts claimed.
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