Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Tuesday the government is likely to begin vaccinating children against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in August, according to news agency ANI. Mandaviya reportedly made the statement during a parliamentary party meeting of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which was also attended by prime minister Narendra Modi.
“We would likely begin vaccinating children from next month,” the health minister reportedly said during the meeting. Currently, every citizen who is aged or 18 above is eligible for a shot against the viral disease.
Mandaviya’s statement comes at a time when there are concerns over the impact on kids of a possible third wave of the coronavirus pandemic. That a vaccine is yet to be cleared for this age group has only added to worries.
Previously, experts, including AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria projected a timeline of September by which a vaccine would be available for children. According to Dr Guleria, data from clinical trials of Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin on children is likely to be available in September and, if found safe, the shot could be approved for kids the same month.
Additionally, Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila, on July 1, filed an application for emergency use authorisation (EUA) with the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) seeking permission for its vaccine candidate to be administered to everyone above the age of 12.
Till now, 441,912,395 doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in the country, according to the Union ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW) dashboard. Of these, 6,603,112 doses were given in the last 24 hours, the data shows. The nationwide vaccination drive against the coronavirus pandemic began on January 16.