Vaccination of children aged 12 to 15 against Covid-19 will begin on Wednesday and will initially take place only at government vaccination centres across India until Biological E, the maker of Corbevax, announces the price of its vaccine for the private sector.
“For now, it will be available only at government vaccination facilities,” a central government official said on condition of anonymity. “Once the company (Biological E) notifies its rate for private hospitals, as was done by Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech, then private hospitals can also procure and its vaccine will also be available at private Covid vaccination centres.”
The government said on Tuesday that the Covid-19 immunisation will be available to all children born on or before March 15, 2010. Previously, children born on or after January 1, 2007, were able to participate in the national vaccination programme.
On March 16, registration for vaccinations for youngsters will begin at 9 a.m. According to the rules, it may be done by self-registering in an existing account of a family member on the government’s CoWIN site, or by creating a new account using a unique cellphone number. It can also be done by the vaccinator registering on-site.
Appointments can be made either online or on the spot. Vaccination of the 12-to-15-year-old age group will take place in specialised inoculation sessions to minimise inadvertent inoculation with any other Covid-19 vaccines other than the required Corbevax.
“NTAGI agreed approximately three months ago at one of its sessions that children with co-morbidities had a 5-6 times higher likelihood of acquiring serious illness. According to NK Arora, chairperson of the Covid-19 working group of the National Technical Advisory Bracket on Immunization, “approximately 10-15 percent of children in the age group of 12-15 years suffer from various co-morbidities” (NTAGI). “As a result, it was decided to begin immunisation against Covid-19 in this age group as well.”
At least one vaccine dose has been administered to 95.5 percent of the eligible population aged 15 and older, and at least 80 percent of adolescents in this age range have been completely immunised.
“It’s particularly crucial in the light of the current Covid-19 issue in China, where cases are on the rise; and a new variety that’s a combination of Delta and Omicron has been detected,” Arora added. “According to WHO SAGE recommendations, children should be vaccinated after adults if supplies are available.”
The World Health Organization’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (WHO SAGE) is an acronym for World Health Organization’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization.
The central government announced rules on Tuesday for Covid-19 immunisation of youngsters aged 12 to 15, which will begin on Wednesday, and stated that only the Corbevax vaccine of Biological E would be used for the cohort’s beneficiaries.
“Keeping in mind the evolving situation of the Covid-19 pandemic and the emerging evidence, the expert group has decided to expand Covid-19 vaccination programme to children aged 21 to 14 years from March 2022. Only Corbevax would be used for these beneficiaries in the age group of 12 to 13 years, and 13-14 years in government CVCs (covid-19 vaccination centres) in view of vaccine security issues and limited availability of other Covid-19 vaccines approved for this age group,” health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said in a letter to states.
“The vaccinator and verifier should ensure that beneficiaries less than 12 years on the date of vaccination are not vaccinated even if he/she is registered on CoWIN,” the letter added.
Corbevax is a protein subunit vaccine that is given intramuscularly in two doses 28 days apart.