India is likely to start vaccinating children by September, said AIIMS chief Dr Randeep Guleria on Saturday as he underlined that it will be an important move to break the chain of transmission.
"I think Zydus has already done the trials and they're waiting for the emergency authorization. Bharat Biotech's Covaxin trials should be over by August or September, and by that time we should get an approval. Pfizer vaccine has been already approved by the FDA (US regulator – Food and Drug Administration). Hopefully, by September, we should start vaccinating children, and that would be a big boost as far as breaking the chain of transmission is concerned," Dr. Guleria said as quoted by NDTV.
India has given over 42 crore doses of vaccines so far, and the government aims to vaccinate all adults by the end of this year. However, the country is yet to clear a vaccine for children amid concern over a third wave.
A study published earlier this week by The Lancet, one of the world's oldest medical journals, underlined that "living with 11-17-year-olds increases the risk of infection by 18-30 per cent."
Talking about it, Dr. Guleria said: "It's an important issue. Vulnerable people – the elderly or those having illnesses – are at an increased risk of getting the infection (in such cases). That's one of the reasons why people are worried about children going to schools… they may get a mild infection but they may pass it to their grandparents. We need more data but this is something that has been shown even with influenza."
On vaccination, the AIIMS chief further stressed: "I think it's important both to protect children as well as to break the chain of transmission.