The All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), Delhi, will start from Monday screening for the clinical trials of the homegrown anti-Covid vaccine, Covaxin, on children, sources say. This comes days after AIIMS Patna started the trials on children.
Experts have warned that a possible third wave can bring as much devastation as the second wave of the pandemic if enough people are not vaccinated against the virus, and that children could be its prime target.
However, the vaccines available in India – Covaxin, Covishield and Sputnik V – have not been approved for use on children.
Dr VK Paul, a senior NITI Aayog member, had said last month that the phase 2/3 trials will be conducted on children aged between two and 18.
The centre gave its clearance to the clinical trials on children on May 13.
The United States and Canada have authorised Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine for use in some age groups of children. China has also approved the emergency use of CoronaVac, a COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Chinese firm Sinovac, for children aged between 3 and 17 years. Most countries, however, are not inoculating children against the virus.
The second wave of the pandemic has been killing hundreds of people daily since it hit the country in March. The health infrastructure had got severely strained in April because of an unprecedented burden of patients. A large number of Covid patients died due to the lack of hospital beds and medical oxygen.