Explained: How made-in-India nasal vaccine could prove to be a ‘game-changer’

Niti Aayog health member said that the impact of coronavirus will be minimal among children.

World Health Organization’s Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan said that the nasal vaccine which has been developed in India could be a game-changer for children, as they are most susceptible to Covid-19 third wave.

Swaminathan, during a conversation with a media channel, said, “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.” 

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However, she also informed that the nasal vaccine will not be available this year. She added that till the time most adults, especially teachers should take the vaccination jabs so that schools may be reopened and the risk of community transmission would below. 

WHO’s scientist further said, “I am hopeful that ultimately we will have a vaccine for children. But that’s not going to happen this year, and we should open the schools only when community transmission is low. That’s what the rest of the countries have done, with other precautions. And if the teachers are vaccinated, that would be a step forward.”

On Saturday, the central government stated that the children would not be immune by the third wave of the infection, but stressed that the impact would be minimal. 

VK Paul, Niti Aayog health member during a press briefing said, “If children get affected by the Covid, either there will be no symptoms or there will be minimal symptoms. They will not require hospitalization generally.”

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He also said that our priority must keep children away from the transmission chain, and in second place we should focus on ramp-up the treatment of Covid-19 among children. Children account for about three to four percent of hospital admission, across the globe. Paul added that special attention should be on the children between the age group of 10 and 12, as they are very mobile.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the recent virtual meeting had asked the Chief Ministers to collect data on the transmission of the infection among children. 

Soumya Swaminathan has also mentioned that many vaccine developers like Pfizer have given emergency authorization to start their trials of children. 

She stated that “There are many vaccine developers who have already started their pediatric trials like the Pfizer vaccine is now approved for children over the age of 12 and trials in younger children are ongoing. It is expected that in a couple of months, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will get approval. The AstraZeneca and other vaccines for young people – there’s slower development there because of the rare side effects noted in the younger generation given the adenoviral vaccines. But certainly, other classes of vaccine are coming on board.”

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