COVID-19 Vaccine for Children: Three Vaccines Approved for Emergency Use for Children Aged 5 to 12 Years
The fear of catching the Covid-19 virus has depreciated since the introduction of Covid-19 vaccines worldwide. But, with the variations coming out every few months, the key to stay immune is the vaccination. And that means vaccination for all!
With the advent of the fourth Covid wave in India, The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) gave emergency use authorisation (EUA) to three Covid-19 vaccines for children aged 5 to 12. The move has been made considering children who are amongst the most affected ones with the chances to miss school and social time.
Covaxin has been approved for children aged 6 to 12, while Corbevax has been cleared for children aged between 5 and 12. Another vaccine approved for emergency use is ZyCoV-D for children above 12 years with a two-dose regimen. Now, parents have the option to choose the best one for their child from these three vaccines.
In a nutshell:
- Covaxin has been approved for children aged 6-12 and 15-18
- Corbevax has been approved for children aged 5-12
- ZyCoV-D has been approved for children above 12 years
Covaxin is a Covid-19 vaccine developed by an Indian pharmaceutical company – Bharat Biotech, in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research – National Institute of Virology. It is an inactivated vaccine similar to several other inactivated vaccines used worldwide, such as polio, rabies, etc. Covaxin contains dead virus incapable of infecting people. When inserted into the host body, it triggers the immune system to develop a defence mechanism against the virus. The vaccine follows a two-dose procedure, given 28 days apart.
Earlier, Covaxin was granted the Emergency Use Listing for children from 12 to 18 years. It is currently administered to the age group of 15 to 18. Now, amid the fourth wave scare, it has been granted emergency use for children aged 6 to 12 years.
Corbevax is a recombinant protein sub-unit vaccine developed by an Indian pharmaceutical giant, Biological-E Limited, collaborating with American institutions, including Baylor College of Medicine and The Texas Children’s Hospital Centre for Vaccine Development. The vaccine is made from the harmless spike protein found on the SARS-CoV-2 virus’s surface.
When spike protein enters the host, it prompts the body cells to develop an immune response to fight anything that resembles the injected spike protein. The vaccine is administered into the muscles and requires two doses, given within the gap of 28 days.
The vaccine is currently being administered to the children of the age group 12 to 14. The DCGI has also granted it the emergency use authorisation for the age group of 5 to 12.
ZyCov-D is a plasmid DNA vaccine developed by a Gujarat-based pharmaceutical company, Zydus Cadila. It is the world’s first DNA vaccine and India’s first needleless vaccine. The vaccine uses a non-replicating version of a DNA molecule called a plasmid. The plasmids will be administered intradermally using a needle-free injection system (NFIS) that allows the shot to penetrate the skin without any pain. It is an ideal vaccine for those who are afraid of syringes.
After entering the host body, the injected plasmids start making the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This triggers the immune system to sense the threat and fight against the virus by developing antibodies in response. It is a three-dose vaccine to be taken 28 days apart.
The DCGI has granted Zydus Cadila’s vaccine ZyCoV-D the restricted use in an emergency situation for children above 12 years of age with a two-dose regimen.
How Important Is the Vaccine for My Child?
With children stepping out of the house for school and playtime, they are at a high risk of contracting the virus from the people surrounding them. Even with restrictions on going out, maintaining social distancing, and using face masks, the risk does not vanish. It is thus imperative for children to vaccinate and immunise themselves to reduce the threat of coronavirus.
Vaccination will not only reduce parents’ worry about sending their children to school and other places safely but also make them immune to the virus, thus making them safe for senior citizens at home.
Eligibility for the Vaccines
Corbevax is approved for children of the age group of 5-12, while the eligibility for Covaxin is 6-12. The third vaccine, ZyCoV-D, is available for children above 12 years.
Are These Vaccines Safe for My Child?
All three vaccines got the emergency approval following the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) recommendations on Covid-19 of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation(CDSCO). Bharat Biotech has also been directed by the DCGI to present the due analysis every 15 days and then the monthly data for the next five months.
The SEC has also taken note of the comparability of Biological E’s Corbevax’s immunogenicity data of Phase 2/3 clinical trials concerning the age group of 5 to less than 12 years to higher age groups.
Covaxin is an inactivated vaccine which instructs the body to produce antibodies. Corbevax, just like viral vector vaccines and mRNA, targets only the spike protein. Since only the spike protein enters the host and not the whole virus, it is relatively safe. ZyCoV-D, on the other hand, uses plasmids to inform the body to make antibodies against the spike protein.
To ensure the cluster breakouts don’t happen in schools and other institutions in the fourth wave, parents must vaccinate their child timely. The government’s approval for the emergency use of Covaxin, Corbevax, and ZyCoV-D for children has brought significant relief. With vaccination, parents can let their little ones out without any worry, knowing that their child is immunised and safe.