Covid vaccine for children can wait, trials still underway: Dr Gagandeep Kang | Exclusive

There is no urgent need to vaccinate children against Covid-19 as the trials are still continuing and the immunogenicity data is still awaited, top virologist Dr Gagandeep Kang has said.

In an exclusive conversation with India Today, Gagandeep Kang said that so far, only interim data has been submitted for approval to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for all Covid-19 vaccines. In view of this, vaccination in children can wait, she said.

An expert panel of DCGI has recommended granting emergency use authorisation (EUA) to Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for children aged 2 to 18 with certain conditions.

Bharat Biotech submitted data from phase 2/3 trials of Covaxin for use in children aged 2 to 18 years to the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) earlier this month for verification and subsequent approval for EUA for the vaccine.

Gagandeep Kang said vaccine trials in children did not involve kids with co-morbidities, so it is not known how they are going to react to the vaccines.

“We need to wait and try to develop a vaccine for kids that can offer protection against new variants instead of vaccinating them now,” said Gagandeep Kang, adding that children already have had exposure to the Delta variant.

Gagandeep Kang said if kids with co-morbidities have to be given a vaccine, then mRNA vaccines can be an option as they generate the best antibody response. The vaccines developed using mRNA technology include Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna candidates.

Even vaccinating them with Covaxin, which is an inactivated vaccine, would be safe, Gagandeep Kang said.

‘Covid in India has become endemic’

Gagandeep Kang said that the Covid-19 pandemic has become endemic in India and if the third wave comes, then it would be in the form of small local outbreaks where the population is not yet exposed.

She said the situation would only change if the virus mutates and a new variant emerges.

Gagandeep Kang also hailed India’s vaccination drive, saying the country’s potential in developing vaccines will go a long way.

Also Read | Govt to take final call on Covid vaccination of kids based on scientific rationale: Dr VK Paul

Source – India Today