COVID-19 inoculation for children is among several important points to be discussed at a meeting of the government’s top advisory group on immunisation in the next two weeks, sources have said.
The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation in India, or NTAGI, will also draw up a comprehensive plan for giving additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine to adults, people with direct knowledge of the matter said.
Vaccination for children with comorbidities would likely start in January, sources said, asking not to be identified. By March, all other children are likely to become eligible for vaccination, they said.
The subject of additional doses for adults is significant as some nations have also called for solid protection against the highly contagious coronavirus with booster doses.
Children are seen as priority group for vaccination now, with schools starting on-site classes in several states depending on the pandemic situation. After the devastating second wave that killed lakhs in India, concerns exist on whether children would be vulnerable next, since adults have already been vaccinated at least with one dose if not both.
A debate on whether additional or booster dose is needed is going on among policymakers and scientists around the world. The US is set to become the latest country to widen COVID-19 booster eligibility beyond those with comorbidities, the elderly and other high-risk groups.
Many scientists tracking the data believe it’s the right time for the move; however, some have expressed misgivings, since the original vaccines are still holding up well against severe disease and death among the general population.
Boosters have been a contentious issue for medical experts. An independent panel advising the US Food and Drug Administration, or USFDA, in September initially voted against having boosters available for everyone, demanding narrower criteria. This time around, the US media has reported the USFDA is set to broaden booster dose eligibility without convening the outside experts.