Covid Wrap-up: Covaxin recommended for 2-18 age group

Covid-19 Wrap-up: Panel recommends Covaxin for 2-18 age group

Representative image. Credit: DH file photo

An Indian drug regulatory panel on Tuesday recommended emergency use of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin on children and adolescents in the age group of 2-18 years, clearing the deck for large scale use of the home-grown Covid-19 vaccine on kids, who are not yet eligible for jabs. 

“Bharat Biotech has submitted data from clinical trials in the 2-18 years age group for Covaxin (BBV152) to the CDSCO. The data has been thoroughly reviewed by the CDSCO and Subject Experts Committee (SEC), which provided its positive recommendations. This represents one of the first approvals worldwide for Covid-19 vaccines for the 2-18 age group,” the Hyderabad-based company said in a brief statement.

The International Monetary Fund was all praise for India's vaccination drive, with chief economist Gita Gopinath saying that India is doing well in terms of vaccinating its own people and this is certainly helping its economy.

"We don't have a change to our growth forecast for this year for India. I mean, India came out of a very, very tough second wave and that led to a big downgrade in July but we have no change (in its growth rate projections) as of now,” Gita Gopinath, Chief Economist of the IMF, told reporters during a virtual conference call on Tuesday. "The Indians are doing well in terms of vaccination rates and that's certainly helpful," Gopinath said in response to a question.

With over 95 crore vaccine doses administered in India, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said that the country would soon touch the 100-crore vaccinations mark.

Meanwhile, the government announced that airlines will be allowed to carry out all services they used to during pre-Covid-19 times effective October 18. "After review of the current status of scheduled domestic operations viz-a-viz passenger demand for air travel...it has been decided to restore the scheduled domestic air operations with effect from October 18, 2021, without any capacity restrictions," a Ministry of Civil Aviation order said.

On September 18, the Ministry of Civil Aviation had allowed airlines to operate a maximum of 85 per cent of their pre-Covid domestic flights instead of the 72.5 per cent till then.

All is not well, however, as the Mizoram government has asked all residents to wear face masks round-the-clock even inside homes and advised them not to dine together at the table ij the wake of a surge in Covid-19 cases, even as the state's health infrastrucutre has been "stretched to its limits".

"Wear a face mask so that you do not have to wear an Oxygen mask." With slogans like this, the Health Department launched a 10-day-long "All Mask" campaign to ensure that people wear masks all time as the state's Covid-19 positivity rate hovered between 15 and 30 per cent for more than a month.

Under the campaign, citizens have been asked to wear masks indoors at all times except while eating meals. "Citizens are requested not to dine together on a table and have buffet meals instead. All citizens are requested and advised to be more mindful in hand washing and use of sanitisers," said a statement.

Meanwhile, down south, prohibitory orders that are in place in the wake of Covid-19 in Bengaluru have been extended till 6:00 am of October 25. The night curfew will also be in place from 10:00 pm to 5:00 am on all days until then.

Politics over the petrol and diesel prices in the country took a new turn as Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Rameswar Teli claimed that the "free" Covid-19 vaccines provided to the citizens have resulted in a hike in fuel prices. "Fuel prices aren't high but include the tax levied. You must've taken a free vaccine, where will the money come from? You haven't paid the money, this is how it was collected," the minister said.

Finally, on the global front, Moderna on Tuesday said the US Food and Drug Administration should authorise booster doses of its Covid-19 vaccine in fully-vaccinated older adults and high-risk individuals. The company said its data supports the public health benefit of a booster dose of its vaccine to restore immune response, while reducing the number of "breakthrough" infections in fully-vaccinated adults.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization's vaccine advisers on Monday recommended people with weaker immune systems should be offered an additional dose of all authorised Covid-19 vaccines.

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