Covid-19 | J&K prepares to vaccinate 12-18 yr olds

Children to get first-of-its-kind Zydus-Cadila needle-free vaccine
Covid-19 | J&K prepares to vaccinate 12-18 yr olds
A health worker administers COVID-19 vaccines to a local in Srinagar.File: Mubashir Khan/GK

Srinagar, Oct 20: J&K Wednesday started preparation for vaccinating 12 to 18 year olds with the freshly-approved needle-free vaccine from Zydus-Cadila.

The vaccine is expected to be available soon across India, including J&K.

Training of the trainers by the officials from the UNICEF and the WHO commenced on Wednesday in J&K, a process meant for familiarising the J&K’s Healthcare professionals with the latest technology in the field of Covid-19 vaccine.

The exercise introduced the trainees to ZydusCadila’sZyCoV-D, the first DNA vaccine approved for children older than 12 years.

These officials would further train other staff on vaccination of children, a process the authorities said was set to begin “in some weeks”.

Director General Health, Family Welfare and Immunisation, DrSaleem-ur-Rehman said that the Zydus-Cadila vaccine would not require syringes and injections but would be administered through an intra-dermal pressure-based applicator, making it essentially a needle-free vaccine and virtually pain-free.

“It is children friendly and has been approved in India along with Covaxin,” he said.

The vaccine at the Central Drugs Standards Control Organisation (CDSCO) in August showed the company’s phase III clinical trials depicting the vaccine to have an efficacy of 66.6 percent.

DrRehman said the Zydus-Cadila vaccine might be part of the national vaccination programme but it was yet to become clear which category of children would get the vaccine first.

“There are discussions that the vaccine may first be given to children with co-morbidities,” he said.

DrRehman said that select vaccination sites would be set up in both Kashmir and Jammu divisions and children-friendly vaccination sites would be prepared.

The vaccine is based on three doses – Day zero, day 15 and Day 28.

As per the media reports, after receiving the approval, the company announced that it was stockpiling vaccine doses, and was likely to produce 10 million vaccine doses a month by October.

This is the sixth vaccine to be approved in India, and one of the two approved for use among children - Covishield, Covaxin, and Russia’s Sputnik V, Johnson and Johnson and Moderna Inc.

Covishield, Covaxin, and Russia’s Sputnik V are already being administered in India.

Covaxin and ZydusCadila are expected to foray in November.

Meanwhile, Covovax, the Indian version of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by the US-based Novavax, is also conducting trials here.

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