Covid vaccines for children are likely in a matter of days, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was told this morning at a meeting of BJP MPs at parliament.
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said at the meeting of the BJP's parliamentary party that the government would likely start vaccinating children next month, according to sources.
According to experts, this will be a giant step in breaking the chain of transmission and also reopening schools across the country amid warnings of a possible third wave of Covid.
Earlier this month, Dr NK Arora, who heads the National Expert Group on Vaccines, had told NDTV that vaccination for children will start by September with the Zydus vaccine for 12 to 18-year-olds.
Bharat Biotech's Covaxin and Zydus Cadila's candidate are testing vaccines for children. The results of the Covaxin trials are expected by September, AIIMS chief Randeep Guleria has said.
Dr Guleria had also said vaccinations for children could start by September.
"I think Zydus has already done the trials and they're waiting for emergency authorisation. The 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 will be a big boost as far as breaking the chain of transmission is concerned," Dr Guleria told NDTV.
India has given over 44 crore doses of vaccines so far. The government's plan is to vaccinate all adults by the end of this year.
On Friday, the European medicines watchdog approved the use of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine for children aged 12 to 17.
In May, the US had authorised the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for children aged 12 to 15 years old.
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."