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    COVID-19 vaccine availability is the key to school reopening, says AIIMS chief Dr Guleria

    COVID-19 vaccine availability is the key to school reopening, says AIIMS chief Dr Guleria

    COVID-19 vaccine availability is the key to school reopening, says AIIMS chief Dr Guleria
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    By CNBCTV18.com  IST (Published)

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    NITI Aayog member (health) Dr VK Paul had estimated that 25-26 crore doses will be needed for the 12 to 18 years demographic comprising a population of about 13 to 14 crore.

    Schools are likely to reopen from September after the availability of multiple vaccines against COVID-19 including those for the children, according to Dr Randeep Guleria, Director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). Schools have been shut since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    "Vaccination will play an important role in the reopening of schools and in allowing children to engage in outdoor activities,” said Dr Guleria.
    Dr Guleria said multiple vaccines could be available for children from September 2021 after approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI). He pointed out that data from phase two and three trials of Bharat Biotech's Covaxin on those in the age group of two to 18 years is expected by September.
    Pfizer's vaccine is also an option subject to its approval in India, added Dr Guleria. Pfizer claims that its vaccine is the only one to get approval for usage on children across the world.
    Zydus Cadila may also soon apply to the DGCI for emergency use authorisation for its Covid-19 vaccine, ZyCoV-D, Dr Guleria added. The company claims that ZyCoV-D can be given to both adults and young ones.
    While announcing that Serum Institute has begun production of US-based biotechnology company Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine at its Pune facility, Adar Poonawalla said that the vaccine, Covovax, has great potential to protect future generations below 18 years. Trials are underway.
    NITI Aayog member (health) Dr VK Paul had estimated that 25-26 crore doses will be needed for the 12 to 18 years demographic comprising a population of about 13 to 14 crore.
    Dr Paul had earlier pointed out that when Zydus Cadila applies for the license, they could have enough data to take a view on whether the vaccine can be given to children.
    State Bank of India’s (SBI) research document had said that children could be the next vulnerable group in the third wave caused by COVID-19. The report said that this impact could be significantly minimised by extensive vaccination and enhanced health infrastructure.
    The government said that though COVID-19 has not impacted children to a great extent so far, this could change if the behaviour of the virus changes or if there are changes in epidemiology dynamics.
    A national expert group has been constituted to review COVID-19 among children and prepare the country for it.
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