Scientific advice, global trends, international journals, slow action – Narendra Modi’s government is seeking extreme caution before it finally begins its Covid-19 vaccination campaign for children in India.
Federal Health Minister Mansukh Mandavia told senior health ministry officials that the removal of vaccines or the start of the campaign should not be rushed, senior sources told News18.com. The sources said the Higher Committee of Experts – the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) – was also asked to take a comprehensive look before submitting the final plan to start the campaign.
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The sources said that Mandaviya also asked officials to take “small steps” and monitor international trends, adding that the health minister asked officers to study the reasons behind the slow pace of introducing vaccines for children in developed countries.
“Developed countries have not come forward to vaccinate children. Immunizing children is a very critical decision and we must take all scientific and technical opinions before taking any step,” said a senior official, explaining Mandaviya’s concerns.
It is believed that the Minister of Health has said that he will not allow any “politics or pressure” regarding the vaccination of children.
Another official, part of NTAGI, the top body that draws up the immunization plan, echoed similar remarks. “The message from the summit is that there is no rush. We need to make a scientifically strong decision because it is about children and the future of our country,” they said.
We have read international studies and journals to understand the risks and benefits of vaccinating children. Aside from the studies, the commission reads international trends on how other countries, especially developed countries, are taking action in relation to attacking children against Covid-19.
The committee is working on creating a master list of comorbidities on the basis of which the campaign for children with these diseases will begin on a priority basis, after which healthy children can be vaccinated.
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After dictates from above, not only was NTAGI taking caution, but India’s major drug regulator has yet to approve Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin coronavirus vaccine for emergency use in children despite a recommendation from the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) earlier . In the week.
“The matter is still under discussion and additional scientific advice is being sought,” a source in the Comptroller General of Narcotics at the India office said.
“The consent is crucial and it is a huge responsibility,” they said.
The vaccine was approved by the SEC on Tuesday. For other vaccines for adults, the approval of the General Directorate of General Surgery came in one day.