Written by Sanjana Nayakanti, a grade 6 student
The second wave that raged through India this summer affected millions of Indians and forced states to go into lockdown again. Vaccination for all adults began in May.
Now, the trials to test the vaccines on children below 18 have begun. Parents and children are eagerly waiting for the results of the Covaxin trials going on right now. Without vaccination, it will be very difficult to open schools and colleges. Or, even allow children to go outside to play.
In 2020, the entire world came to a grinding halt. Millions fell sick with the new and highly infectious coronavirus. It was a very difficult time. But, scientists around the world rose to the challenge of developing a vaccine against this virus.
By the end of 2020, many vaccines had been developed. India is the largest producer of vaccines in the world.
Bharat Biotech, a Hyderabad-based company created India’s first covid vaccine, called Covaxin. Presently, covid vaccines in India are available only for ages 18 and above. The second wave that started in April affected many under the age of 45. Experts fear that a 3rd wave may start in August or September and may affect children the most. That is why clinical trials for children have begun. Clinical trials of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin are expected to be conducted on 525 participants at various hospitals in the country.
Covaxin has not got WHO approval till now, and the results of its phase 3 trials are not out yet. But it is a good vaccine and has shown good effectiveness against all variants of the coronavirus, including the Indian Delta Variant. The Prime Minister, many members of the Union Cabinet, government officers, and doctors have taken Covaxin shots.
The where and how of Covaxin trials
The trials will be conducted at AIIMS, Patna, AIMMS Delhi, Mysore Medical College and Research Institute, Mysuru, Pranaam Hospital, Hyderabad, and Meditrina Institute of Medical Sciences, Nagpur. According to Dr Prabhat Kumar Singh, Director AIIMS, Patna, the plan is to first start the vaccine trials for 175 kids of age group 12-18 years, and then 175 kids of age group 6-12 years and after that 175 kids of 2-6 years age group. The children will be selected from different towns and villages in India. First, they will undergo a medical checkup and will also be screened for Covid antibodies. Then, the selected children will be given the first dose of Covaxin. The doctors will then monitor these volunteers and check for any side effects. The second dose will be given after 28 days. These trials will help decide if the vaccine is safe for children.
The status of the trials
The trials have begun at AIIMS Patna, in Bihar, where children between 12 and 18 were given the first dose of Covaxin. At AIIMS Delhi also, the first dose of Covaxin has been given to this age group. Now, trials will soon begin for the 6 to 12 age group.
Parents are eagerly waiting for the results of these trials. They are hoping for a vaccine for children soon.
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