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Experts for vaccinating children, teenagers at the earliest

Chennai, June 21BPNS)

With studies of Public Health Department yielding results of the Covid-19, Delta variant being the cause of a majority of positive cases in the state, experts are of the opinion that children and teenagers be given the shots at the earliest after conducting trials. According to the studies the Children and teenagers are more vulnerable to the Delta variant of the Virus.

According to a report of the Tamil Nadu State Public Health department,  out of the 554 samples tested for genomic sequencing to identify the Delta variant, 386 were found to have been infected by the variant. Of the 386, 86 were below the age of 18. This means that around 22% of all those tested are under 18 years of age.

Dr. Suchitra Menon, a virologist based out of Chennai while speaking to BPNS said, “The Children have to be inoculated at the earliest after conducting proper trials and vaccines will in no way damage the children. There is no data that points out any danger to children on being vaccinated, however, there are certain vaccines which are not safe for children and this has to be studied in detail.”

Experts are of the opinion that children of higher secondary classes in the age group of 15 to 17 be inoculated in the first round after conducting trials.

Dr. Suchitra Menon adds, “ In India, a vaccine approved for inoculating Children may take time up to December but there are options of importing the vaccine and vaccinate children.”

All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) , New Delhi is conducting trials on vaccines for under 18 year age category and Serum institute is also on the research for the same. However, experts opine that this might take time and inoculate children at this stage will be possible only with the support of imported vaccines.

Chinese Vaccine, Sinovac, according to experts have provided excellent results in vaccinating children and Pfizer is also found to be effective in vaccinating children.

Experts however, said that importing these vaccines depend on the policies of the Union government. Dr Deepesh Raj, a virologist with a leading Medical College in Madurai while speaking to BPNS said, “There has to be a political decision for inoculating children and as told earlier by experts, in India vaccine for Children is likely to be ready only by December and with the possibility of Delta variant striking, the need for inoculating children under the age group of 18 has become very important. Let there be a decision at the higher level on whether the vaccines meant for children and teenagers is to be imported or not.”

While experts are not clear on the possibility of a third wave and whether it could affect children and teenagers, the Tamil Nadu health department have already raked up the number of pediatric facilities across the state to counter a probable third wave.

Dr. Harikumar Muthuswamy, who is a Public Health Expert in the United States and now on vacation in Erode while speaking to BPNS said, “The government must take steps to have all the health infrastructure ready for a probable third wave. There are differences among the experts across the globe on whether this could affect the children or not. Anyway preparing for a probability is not a crime and one should be ready for tha