No data to show children will be seriously hit in next Covid waves: AIIMS Director

“Efficacy of Covaxin, Covishield, Sputnik V more or less equivalent”
No data to show children will be seriously hit in next Covid waves: AIIMS Director
File Photo of Dr Randeep Guleria

New Delhi, June 8: There is no data, either from India or globally, to show that children will be seriously infected in any subsequent Covid-19 waves, AIIMS, Delhi, Director Dr Randeep Guleria said on Tuesday.

Addressing a media briefing here, he said that "it is a piece of misinformation that subsequent waves of the Covid-19 pandemic are going to cause severe illness in children".

Noting that 60 per cent to 70 per cent of the children who got infected and got admitted in hospitals during the second wave in India, had either comorbidities or low immunity, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Director said that healthy children recovered with mild illness without need for hospitalisation.

Guleria futher asserted that "Covid appropriate behaviour is key to preventing future waves", similar to the statement NITI Aayog Member (Health) VK Paul made on Monday.

Explaining why pandemics return again, the AIIMS Director said "waves normally occur in pandemics caused due to respiratory viruses; the 1918 Spanish Flu, H1N1 (swine) flu are examples".

"The second wave of 1918 Spanish Flu was the biggest, after which there was a smaller third wave," said Guleria. "And as we know, SARS-Cov-2 is a respiratory virus." Multiple waves occur when there is a susceptible population and when a large part of the population acquires immunity against the infection, "the virus becomes endemic and infection becomes seasonal like that of H1N1 that commonly spreads during monsoon or winters", he said.

"Waves can occur due to change in the virus (such as new variants). Since new mutations become more infectious, there is a higher chance for the virus to spread."

Meanwhile, the AIIMS Director has said that data available till now shows clearly that efficacy of all vaccines -- whether Covaxin, Covishield or Sputnik V -- are more or less equivalent. "We should not hence say take this vaccine or that vaccine, whichever vaccine is available in your area, please go ahead and get yourself vaccinated so that you and your family are safe," Guleria said.

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