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With vaccines for kids on the way, Govt progressing on several fronts

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 23, 2021

Guidelines issued to States for the upcoming festival months

Two Covid vaccines for children are in their final lap of trials and discussions on distribution and pricing are ongoing, said Union Health Ministry officials.

The clinical trial of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for children is in its final phase and the results are expected, said Balram Bhargava, Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research, at the Ministry’s briefing. “The Subject Expert Committee will look at it after the submission of results to the drug regulator,” he added.

VK Paul, Niti Aayog Member-Health, said the government was in talks with Zydus Cadila for their vaccine distribution and had discussed pricing with them. The government would soon take a decision on this, he said, adding that they were waiting for recommendations from the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI).

Second wave

The officials, meanwhile, cautioned that the second wave was still to be reckoned with and guidelines have been issued to States and UTs for the festival months.

Health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that the second wave was not yet over and Kerala and Maharashtra were contributing the highest number of cases. India reported 31,923 cases on Thursday with 282 deaths. The weekly positivity rate stood at 2.11 per cent, and had been less than 3 per cent for three months now.

On the vaccination front, India administered over 61 lakh vaccine doses while going to press on Thursday, taking the total number of vaccine shots to over 83 crore. The country conducted 15.27 lakh tests during the previous day, taking it to 55.83 crore tests so far.

Guidelines for festivities

The Health Ministry has issued detailed guidelines to be followed during the festival season, said the offiicials.

The advisory said mass gatherings must be avoided in containment zones and districts with more than 5 per cent case positivity. Gatherings with advance permission and limited people could be allowed in districts with a positivity rate of 5 per cent and below.

Also, relaxations and restrictions must be imposed as per weekly case positivity, said the Centre.

About 66 per cent of the adult population have received the first dose of vaccination, with Lakshadweep, Chandigarh, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Andaman & Nicobar having covered 100 per cent of the adult population with one dose, the officials added.

Published on September 23, 2021

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