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COVID-19 in Maharashtra: Taskforce to meet today to discuss details on implementation of vaccination for children above 12 years of age

11:07 PM Oct 18, 2021 | Sanjay Jog

The state’s pediatric taskforce headed by Dr Suhas Prabhu has worked out a roadmap for the priority vaccination for those above 12 years of age, as this is the age group for whom schools have reopened (Classes 5 to 12). The taskforce, during its last meeting on October 12, had asserted that after the approval of the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for the use of Covaxin, the vaccination can be carried out at the present centers, and also at pediatricians’ clinics. The taskforce will now meet today (Tuesday) to discuss the details on the implementation of vaccination for children.

The taskforce discussed Moderna’s application for use among children in India, especially when the UK has recommended only one dose of Moderna for kids citing fear of cardiomyopathy. The taskforce was of the opinion that Indian vaccines that will be available earlier have not been associated with this adverse effect, and the state government will have to follow the recommendations of the DCGI based on the trial results.

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“The DCGI will approve it in a few days and send its recommendation to the Centre. The Cowin app needs modifications to include this age group. It may take up a month and the taskforce members pointed out that it was unlikely that children’s vaccination will start before December,” a senior member said.

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Members of the taskforce agreed that vaccination for kids may be conducted in the currently running centres, or additionally in a programme mode in line with the previous MR (measles-rubella) vaccination campaign. “There was no reason why the currently set-up vaccination centres could not go ahead and vaccinate children, just like they have been doing for adults so far. The members agreed that the so far, the vaccination has been managed well in almost all public and a few private centres that have been set up and the infrastructure is already there,” said a senior member of the taskforce.

“Taskforce Chairman Dr Suhas Prabhu said that with the online schooling in the last one year, all schools will be having a computer and internet connection, so uploading of the data will also be possible without much problem. All members agreed that Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) members can and should volunteer to vaccinate the kids, just like they did during the measles-rubella campaign. The taskforce discussed the data on tolerance and adverse effect of Covaxin among children. It was informed that there were hardly any side-effects of note after vaccination at the two medical colleges in Pune where the trial was conducted, though the number of vaccinated was only 47.

Also Read: COVID-19: Maharashtra cumulative vaccination tally crosses 9.14 crore

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