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COVID-19 vaccine for children: Covaxin approval expected by October, says AIIMS Chief Randeep Guleria

AIIMS Chief Randeep Guleria further said that the Covaxin "covers a wide spectrum" as Bharat Biotech is conducting trials between the age group of 2 to 18 years.

June 24, 2021 / 09:42 AM IST
AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria (Image Source: ANI)

AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria (Image Source: ANI)

As the threat of the third wave of COVID-19 looms large over India, the AIIMS chief expects approvals for coronavirus vaccine for children by October this year.

Speaking to ANI, AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria said that Bharat Biotech was expected to submit data of clinical trial on children by September-October.

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The pandemic can be controlled only if everyone is vaccinated, Guleria said.

"Bharat Biotech and other companies are doing trials at a very fast pace as parents have come forward with their children for the trials," he said.

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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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"One is hopeful that the trial will be completed early and possibly with follow up of about two-three months, we shall have data by September. Hopefully, by that time, approvals will be there so that by September-October, we'll have vaccines from our country which we can give to children," he added.

Read | COVID-19 vaccines for children: Here's how Centre plans 80% coverage in 12-18 age group

Guleria further said that the Covaxin "covers a wide spectrum" as Bharat Biotech is conducting trials between the age group of 2 to 18 years.

Covaxin, indigenously developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), is being used on adults in India's ongoing COVID-19 vaccination drive.

Also read: New Zealand approves Pfizer vaccine for young people from 12 to 15, but they'll have to wait their turn

India is yet to approve any COVID-19 vaccine for use for children. So far, the United States, United Kingdom, France and New Zealand have approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children over 12 years of age.

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first published: Jun 24, 2021 09:42 am

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