Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said that the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine should be procured to inoculate children as soon as possible ahead of the predicted third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. This comes after the US pharma company sought fast-track approval for its jab in India.
Pfizer has told Indian authorities that its vaccine is suitable for everyone aged 12 years or above and can be stored for a month at 2-8 degrees Celsius, sources had said. “We should procure this vaccine ASAP for our children,” Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, citing a news story on fast-track approval sought by the company.
The Delhi CM has been requesting the central government to explore suitable vaccine options, citing opinion of experts that a possible third wave of COVID-19 in coming months may affect children.
The Delhi government has also suggested that the Centre should vaccinate students and teachers if it decides to conduct class 12 Board exams delayed due to the second wave of the virus.
Pfizer, which has offered 5 crore doses to India between July and October, recently held a series of interactions with Indian government authorities.
However, earlier AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria said that there is no indication that children will be severely or more affected in the third wave of COVID-19.
Responding to a question on the possible impact of the third wave on children, Guleria said there is so far no evidence that there will be a severe infection in children or there will be more cases in them in the upcoming wave of COVID-19.
The AIIMS Director said, “Data from the first and the second wave shows that children are usually protected from Covid and even if they get it, they have mild infection.”
Randeep Guleria, however, said children have suffered collateral damage during the pandemic due to the gender gap in education, stress and mental issues, smartphone dependence/addiction, and interrupted educational opportunities.