Covid-19 Vaccine for children in the age group of 12-14 years launched by Health Minister of Sikkim Dr M.K. Sharma at Urban Primary Health and Wellness Center (UPHC) at Ranipool, Gangtok District, Sikkim, today. However, vaccinations of children of 12-14 year age group began in most parts of the country on Wednesday, 16 March. The vaccinations for this age group are being inoculated with India’s second home-grown vaccine known as Corbevax.
The vaccine roll out plan has already been formed, and the plan has been set in motion by the health department, government of Sikkim. The reports are that the vaccine launched today at Singtam District Hospital and Ranipool UPHC, will be launched in South Sikkim tomorrow, 22 March, Western Districts on 23 March, and in North Sikkim on the 24 of this month.
“This is a day of utter importance because, it had been a long wait and this (Corbevax launch) was a long time coming, and there had been a lot of queries with tones of worry from parents and guardians who had already been vaccinated, asking when the vaccines for their kids would arrive and be administered,” said Health Minister Dr M.K. Sharma.
“The kids need their education and they need to go to schools as the schools have started in a physical mode, and in this situation if the kids are properly vaccinated, that worry and fear lessens,” he added.
Sharma, addressing the media, lauding efforts made by central government and clarifying that the vaccine has passed all stages of tests and is ready to use, said that he was really glad that this home-grown vaccine has finally reached Sikkim. He urged everyone to get vaccinated as soon as they can, to have faith and not have any doubts. He said that there are around 26,000 children and doses are readily available for the children, and as there is a less time for the interval, Sharma clarified that this vaccination is scheduled to be completed for the whole demographic as soon as the state government can.
Corbevax is India’s second indigenously developed vaccine after Covaxin, and India’s first indigenously developed RBD-protein subunit vaccine. Corbevax, unlike any other vaccine, uses a recombinant protein platform that targets spike protein on the virus. The vaccine injects a volume of cloned spike proteins, instead of instructing cells to replicate it, reports say. It reduces the virus’ ability to cause any serious diseases.
According to the reports by Hindustan Times, in September 2021, Biological E had received the nod to conduct the second and third phases of clinical trials of Corbevax on children and adolescents in the age group of 15-18 years. The Centre had received a nod for the roll-out of the vaccine in December 2021. Corbevax had received the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) in February 2022 for children in the age group of 12 to 18 years.
The vaccine will be administered to children as a set of two doses at an interval of 28 days or in an interval of four weeks succeeding the first dose. The storage of the vaccine is done in 2 to 8 degrees Celsius storage units. Biological E has supplied 5 crore doses of Corbevax to the Centre, which has then distributed the same to states.
The authorities have said the vaccine has gone through rigorous trials of safety and efficacy. “This has been verified and tested. In any case, it has been given an EUA. Without testing the safety, the vaccine would not have been released,” Dr Anil Arora, senior consultant, institute of gastroenterology, Sir Ganga Ram hospital, told Hindustan Times.
He added, “What the mandate is that anybody who is given the vaccine needs to be tracked for adverse side effects. This data has to be submitted by vaccine manufacturers. So, it has been thoroughly tried and tested and safe.” He further said hesitancy should not be a problem and urged children to get vaccinated.