India-made nasal vaccines could be a game changer for children: WHO Chief Scientist
Doctors and experts have been calling for effective, safe doses for children before the third wave arrives
With India battling the second wave of Covid-19 and medical experts indicating another wave of the disease that is likely to affect children more, Chief Scientist of World Health Organization Dr. Soumya Swaminathan said that India-made nasal vaccines could be a game-changer.
Speaking about the nasal vaccines which are expected to be available next year, Swaminathan said in an interview with CNN News 18, “Some of the nasal vaccines that are going to be made in India could be game changers for children — easy to administer, will give you local immunity in the respiratory tract."
Swaminathan, a paediatrician and clinical scientist, stressed upon the vaccination of teachers and schools be reopened only when the risk of community transmission is low.
“I am very hopeful that ultimately we’ll have a vaccine for children. But that’s not going to happen this year, and we should open schools when community transmission is down. That’s what the rest of the countries have done, with other precautions. And if teachers are vaccinated, that would be a big step forward," she said.
The WHO Chief Scientist highlighted the efficacy of rapid vaccination of the population to curb the further spread of COVID-19. However, India is currently not inoculating children or individuals below the age of 18, she reckoned.
The medical community has been calling for effective and safe doses for children before the third wave arrives, Swaminathan informed.
In the United States, Pfizer’s jab has already been approved for use among children between the age of 12 and 15, she pointed out.
Presently, Zydus' ZyCoV-D and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin (already being used for adults) are under trial for children above the age of 12 in India.