Bharat Biotech International Limited, located in Hyderabad, encouraged healthcare personnel to be ‘highly vigilant’ while giving vaccinations to teens aged 15 to 18, noting ‘additional reports’ that beneficiaries in that age bracket were being given ‘unapproved Covid-19 vaccines.’
“We humbly request healthcare workers to ensure that only Covaxin is administered to individuals in the 15-18 years age group. Covaxin received approval based on thorough clinical trial evaluation for safety and immunogenicity in the 2-18 years age group. Currently, it is the only Covid-19 vaccine in India approved for children,” the firm behind the country’s first indigenous vaccine against Covid-19 noted in its statement.
This is for the second time when the company has issued such a statement; on January 7, it had, for the first time, urged hospital staff to ensure only Covaxin is being administered to teenagers, vaccination for whom kicked off on January 3, as announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an address to the nation on December 25 last year.
At present, only Covaxin and Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila’s ZyCoV-D have been approved for age groups below 18. Of these, only the former is being used to inoculate beneficiaries in the 15-18 age group. However, ZyCoV-D was authorised first by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), being cleared for everyone aged 12 and above, on August 20 last year.
Covaxin, on the other hand, received DCGI’s nod on December 25, just hours before PM Modi’s impromptu national address.
Union health minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya tweeted on Tuesday that more than 50 per cent youngsters in the 15-18 age group have received their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine.