Zydus Cadila's Covid vaccine to be administered only to adults now
Zydus Cadila's COVID-19 vaccine ZyCov-D, which has been cleared by India's drug regulator for those aged 12 years and above, will only be administered to adults as of now under the government's national anti-coronavirus vaccination programme, sources said on Sunday.
The health ministry has given a go ahead to initiate the preparatory work for the inclusion of the indigenously-developed, needle-free jab in the national Covid inoculation drive and it can be introduced in the programme anytime soon.
The ministry has already placed a purchase order with the Ahmedabad-based firm for one crore doses of the vaccine.
"ZyCov-D, which has been cleared by India's drug regulator for those aged 12 years and above, will be given only to adults as of now under the national Covid vaccination drive," an official source said.
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Thursday said the government does not want to make haste about administering Covid vaccines to children and any decision in this regard will be taken based on expert opinion.
He said children are not being inoculated against COVID-19 on a large scale anywhere in the world, though it has been initiated in some countries in a limited manner.
"About vaccinating the children, we will take a decision based on expert opinion. We have decided to think and evaluate before going ahead with vaccinating children as they are the future of our country and we need to tread with caution in this matter," Mandaviya had said.
Meanwhile, a comprehensive programme for paediatric immunisation, including developing a priority list of comorbidities, is being worked out by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI).
ZyCov-D is the first Covid vaccine cleared by India's drug regulator for inoculation of those aged 12 years and above.
As for the emergency use approval for Bharat Biotech's Covaxin in the age group of two to 18 years by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), it is under expert opinion and evaluation, official sources said.
For administering ZyCov-D to adults, frontline workers and vaccinators will be provided a brief training for using the needle-free applicator in actual field settings.
At present, every citizen aged above 18 years is eligible for Covid vaccination.
Drug firm Zydus Cadila on November 8 said it had received an order to supply one crore doses of its Covid vaccine, ZyCoV-D, to the Indian government at Rs 265 per dose.
"Zydus Cadila has received an order to supply one crore doses of ZyCoV-D, the world's first Plasmid DNA Vaccine, to the Government of India at Rs 265 per dose and the needle-free applicator is being offered at Rs 93 per dose, excluding GST," the pharma firm said in a regulatory filing.
The vaccine will be administered using a needle-free applicator as opposed to the traditional syringes. The applicator is called "PharmaJet".
PharmaJet is a needle-free applicator to ensure painless intradermal vaccine delivery, which also leads to a significant reduction in any kind of major side effects.
ZyCoV-D is the first DNA plasmid vaccine in the world for human use, developed indigenously by the company against COVID-19, Zydus Cadila said.
The three doses of ZyCoV-D are to be administered 28 days apart. The vaccine was given emergency use authorisation (EUA) by the Indian drug regulator on August 20.