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Coronavirus Vaccine India | Easy to immunise children with intranasal COVID-19 vaccines, says AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria

AIIMS Director Dr Guleria explained: “COVID-19 vaccines for children may come later...Bharat Biotech is trying to get approved a nasal vaccine. Such vaccine will be very easy to be given to children as it is a spray and not a jab and hence compliance is more.”

January 20, 2021 / 09:02 PM IST
AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria

AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria

Intranasal COVID-19 vaccines would be easier to administer to school children who bear “very mild” disease load but are infectious nonetheless, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Director Dr Randeep Guleria said on January 20.

“It (coronavirus infection) is very mild in children, but they are infectious. They can spread the disease,” he said.

The AIIMS Director added: “The vaccines that have come are not approved for children because there have been no studies conducted on children, but this (vaccination) is a very important step and trials are being done.”Expert panel recommends permission for phase 1 clinical trial of Bharat Biotech's nasal COVID-19 vaccine

He pointed out that once children start attending school regularly, their chances of contracting COVID-19 will increase. They might carry the disease home and spread it to their parents or grandparents.

Dr Guleria added: “Vaccines for children may come later...Bharat Biotech is trying to get approved a nasal vaccine. Such a vaccine will be very easy to be given to children as it is a spray and not a jab and hence compliance is more.”

“In half-an-hour you can vaccinate an entire class. So, if that (nasal vaccine) is approved it will be even easier to give the vaccine (for COVID-19),” he said.

While interacting personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) at their 16th Raising Day celebrations in New Delhi, Dr Guleria said people who have already contracted COVID-19 should also get vaccinated after around four to six weeks after recovery.

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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He explained: “A vaccine jab is essential for them (recovered from coronavirus) due to two reasons. One is you are not sure how strong is your post COVID-19 immunity and it has been seen quite a few times that those who had a mild to moderate infection their anti-body response has been less, and we also don’t know how long it will be.”

He added that a vaccine would act as a booster dose for such individuals.

With PTI inputs

Follow our coverage of the coronavirus crisis here

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