COVAXIN recommended by expert panel for children aged 2-18 years
The Subject Expert Committee (SEC) on COVID-19 has recommended the approval of Bharat Biotech's COVAXIN for children aged between two and 18 years. COVAXIN is India's first indigenous vaccine against the coronavirus and is now close to becoming the first Indian jab to be approved for children as young as two years. Here's more on this.
Firm had completed trials in September
Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech had completed Phase-2 and Phase-3 trials of COVAXIN on children in September and submitted the trial data to the drug regulator earlier this month. The vaccine was found to be nearly 78 percent effective in the pediatric trial, reports say. The SEC had held a meeting on COVAXIN's approval for children on Monday.
COVAXIN is an inactivated COVID-19 vaccine
COVAXIN is an inactivated COVID-19 vaccine. It was approved for adults in India this January. Its approval will make it only the second coronavirus jab to be approved for the under-18 population in the country. In August, Indian firm Zydus Cadila's three-dose DNA-based COVID-19 vaccine was approved for use in adults and children aged 12 and above.
COVAXIN yet to get approval from WHO
However, COVAXIN is yet to be approved by the World Health Organization (WHO). That approval is necessary for Bharat Biotech to start widely exporting its vaccine and become part of the "vaccine passport" - under which fully vaccinated people are allowed to travel abroad without restrictions. The WHO review process has been pending for several months, marred by delays over insufficient trial data.
How is India's vaccination drive going?
India has administered nearly 96 crore doses and about 50% of the Indian population has received at least one shot of the vaccine. The country is now turning its focus toward vaccinating children against the coronavirus as schools and colleges reopen. Meanwhile, the Serum Institute of India's version of Novavax is also currently being tested for children aged between seven and 11 years.