ICMR DG says India watching Covid vaccination among children in other countries

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) director general (DG) Balram Bhargava on Saturday said India is closely watching the progress of Covid vaccination among children in countries conducting the same.

The evaluation is being done indigenously, ICMR DG said while addressing a research showcase at King George’s Medical University (KGMU), Lucknow.

“Some countries are vaccinating children in age brackets such as between 15 and 18 years and we are closely monitoring the development there. We know kids are protected as 62% of them showed immunity against the virus in India,” he said.

He did not specify any date for the beginning of Covid vaccination among children in India.

“The technical committee and subject experts have the results from the studies done for vaccination among children. But, at present, schools have a significant role in ensuring they conduct a short but daily session on Covid protocol for students, may be 5 or 10 minutes daily,” said Bhargava.

“Our mantra was not herd immunity but test-track-treat,” he said, sharing the progress in Covid vaccine manufacturing.

“We were sure about delivering the vaccine fast and we had decided to stick to the classic rule and make vaccine from the dead virus. India scripted history and today 110 countries have approved Covaxin, along with WHO’s approval,” he said.

Asked about a booster dose for those who have taken both doses of the Covid vaccine, ICMR DG said, “Both the doses are providing up to 98% protection. Our target is to get all those eligible vaccinated and till now about 80% of the people have got their first dose.”

The annual research showcase was organised at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Convention Centre in Lucknow. The programme highlighted the research contributions and achievements of the faculty and students of KGMU in the past one year, especially in the context of the Covid pandemic.

In his oration on “Going Viral, the Inside Story of Covaxin”, ICMR DG discussed the trials and tribulations in the development of the first Indian Covid vaccine. He described how India became the “largest and fastest” vaccinating country in the world with 40% of the adult population totally vaccinated and 80% having received a single shot. In the process, ICMR lost 23 of their bravehearts, he said.

KGMU vice chancellor Lt Gen (retired) Bipin Puri praised the efforts put in by the medical university in raising the research standards of the country. Prof Shally Awasthi, dean (research and development) presented the annual research report of KGMU. She said KGMU has 237 extramural ongoing projects with combined funding of 21.62 crore, of which nine were focused purely on Covid research.

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Jitendra Kumar

Jitendra Kumar Born on October 10, 1990 an Indian author and activist from Hathras in Uttar Pradesh.