Vaccinating children not a mandate for reopening schools, says Dr VK Paultext_fields
NITI Aayog's Member, Health, Dr VK Paul, announced on Thursday that children need not be vaccinated for schools to be reopened.
"Nowhere in the world has vaccination of children been set up as a criteria or condition to reopen schools. All we need is to curb the spread of infection, which can only be ensured through complete vaccination of parents, teachers and other staff members of the school," said Paul. He was answering a question on the actions taken, preparedness and updates on Covid-19 at a press conference.
"However, we need to ensure that classes are taken in an open surrounding with a good ventilation and children, along with the entire teaching and non-teaching staff, strictly adhering to the Covid-19 guidelines," he added.
Regarding vaccines being tested for children, he said, "Firstly, this topic is still an evolving scientific and public health discourse. Only a few nations have introduced vaccination for children, and there is no WHO recommendation to move ahead in this direction because of low mortality rate and high incidents of asymptomatic infection."
"Despite that, India is working actively in the direction of scientific validation of our vaccine for potential use in children. As of now, we have Zydus (Cadila), which is already licensed for children. We have details of the stockpile, and our scientific bodies are doing research on the ways it could be administered," Paul added.
Regarding the ongoing trial of Covaxin in children, "Covaxin's trial in children is almost on the verge of completion. Once we have the results, it would be readily available to be potentially given to our younger generation. In this way, we will have yet another option." Other vaccines are also in line, he added.
Though children were unaffected in the first wave of COVID-19, a significant number of children were tested positive with COVID-19 in the second wave. This has spurred the discussion around vaccination in children.