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
“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.
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.
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