COVID jab for kids by first quarter of 2022: Poonawalla

RNS: Covovax, another COVID-19 vaccine, being manufactured by Serum Institute of India, will be launched in October for adults and for children by the first quarter of 2022, said Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute of India (SII) on Friday

Poonawalla, who met Home Minister Amit Shah in Parliament for about 30 minutes, thanked the Government for all the support provided to Serum Institute.

“The Government is helping us and we are facing no financial crunch. We are thankful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for all the cooperation and support,” news agency PTI quoted Poonawala.

When asked about vaccines for kids, he said, “The Covovax vaccine for kids will be launched in the first quarter of the next year most likely in January-February.” He said he is hopeful that for adults Covovax will be launched in October, depending on DCGI approvals.

It will be a two-dose vaccine and the price will be decided at the time of launch, he added.

On production capacity of Covishield, the vaccine being manufactured and supplied by Serum in India under a licensing agreement with Oxford and AstraZeneca, he said the present capacity is 130 million doses per month and they always try to increase it further.

Earlier in the day, Ponawalla also met Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, who tweeted that he had a productive discussion on the supply of the Covishield vaccine with the SII CEO.

Last month, an expert panel of India’s Central Drug Authority recommended granting permission to Serum Institute of India (SII) for conducting phase 2/3 trials of Covovax on children aged 2 to 17 years with certain conditions, official sources had earlier said.

The trials would cover 920 children, 460 each in the age group of 12-17 and 2-11 across 10 sites.

Notably, Bharat Biotech (Covaxin) and Zydus Cadila (ZyCoV-D) — have already begun the pediatric trials.

Covovax is said to have an efficacy of close to 90 percent but is yet to be approved for use anywhere.

An expert panel of the Central Drug Authority had last month recommended granting permission to SII for conducting phase 2/3 trials of Covovax on children aged 2 to 17 years with certain conditions.

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