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Health Ministry to begin covid vaccine for children aged 12-14 years from today; All you need to know

Corbevax received an emergency use authorisation (EUA) from India’s drug regulator on February 21 for the age group of 12-18 years

Indian health ministry has announced Covid-19 vaccination for children aged 12-14 years, which is all set to start from March 16, 2022. In a press statement, the Ministry has stated that “after due deliberations with scientific bodies”, it has decided to start Covid-19 vaccination for children above 12 years.

The vaccination is for children who were born in 2008, 2009, 2010, or those who are above 12 years already.

It informed that the vaccine administered would be Hyderabad-based Biological E Limited’s Corbevax. But it is developed by the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas and Dynavax technologies based in Emeryville, California.

Corbevax received an emergency use authorisation (EUA) from India’s drug regulator on February 21 for the age group of 12-18 years. It is a two-dose Covid-19 vaccine, which will be administered in a gap of 28 days just like Covaxin.

Notably, those in the age group of 15-18 years are already being administered the covid vaccine from January 3, 2022.

Union Health and Family Welfare Minister, Mansukh Mandaviya also urged children’s guardians to get them vaccinated.

Here’s how you can register.

*In the same CoWIN app or Aarogya Setu, the child can be registered for vaccination using one of the parent’s mobile phone.
*An OTP will be generated which is needed for verification.
*Once the child’s identity proof is updated under the new category using the Aadhaar card or 10th ID card, the parent can book the child’s vaccination slot at a preferred time at a nearby vaccine centre.

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Why is it necessary?

While it helps prevent the child from getting infected and spreading coronavirus, according to UNICEF, if your child gets infected, a Covid-19 vaccine could prevent them from becoming severely ill in subsequent exposure to Covid-19 infection.

Addressing the myth that it is safer for a child to build immunity by getting infected with Covid-19 than to build immunity by getting the vaccine, Praveen Sikri, CEO of Ikris Pharma Network told indianexpress.com, “Children’s risks are similar to adults. When children get COVID-19, they may be sick for several days and they may also be at risk for prolonged post-COVID-19 conditions. Getting a COVID-19 vaccination can protect a child from getting COVID-19. If a child does contract COVID-19, it can also protect them from developing severe disease, hospitalizations, or long-term complications. Immunization of children will boost herd immunity and aid in the prevention of future coronavirus waves. We strongly advise all parents to get their children aged 12 to 14 years old vaccinated as soon as possible.”

Are there any children who should not get the Covid-19 vaccine?

UNICEF informs in its FAQ guidelines that the vaccine shouldn’t be given to a child with a known history of allergic reaction to any vaccine’s ingredients. For children with co-morbidities and any other current illness, consultation with their doctor to get correct guidance is essential.

Do children also experience mild side-effects post-vaccination like adults?

UNICEF notes that some children might have mild pain and swelling where they got the injection and could feel more tired than usual. Headache, body ache, and fever and chills are also possible. However, these side effects usually clear up within a day or two.

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Precautions pre and post-vaccination according to UNICEF

*Avoid getting vaccinated on an empty stomach.
*Wait for 30 minutes at the vaccination site after being vaccinated.

*If there is any concern during this period, consult the staff at the centre.
*Even during and after vaccination, one must follow the Covid-19 appropriate behaviour like hand sanitisation, wearing a face mask, and maintaining physical distancing.

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