The Central Government on July 16 told Delhi High Court that the trials of COVID-19 vaccines for those below the age of 18 years are ongoing and near completion. After the trials are complete, a policy will be formulated and implemented by the Centre to vaccinate the children as quickly as possible post requisite permissions by the body of experts.
The submission was made in a petition filed by a 12-year-old through her mother and a woman whose child is 8-year-old. The petition was filed seeking a direction for the inclusion of children in the age group of 12-18 and their parents as a priority group in the coronavirus vaccination drive undertaken in Delhi.
The division bench at the Delhi High Court of Chief Justice D.N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh said on Friday that the entire country is waiting for the vaccine roll-out for the children. The court granted more time to the Central government and gave the date September 6 for the next hearing.
Bharat Biotech To Start Clinical Trial
The Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma had earlier told the court that Zydus Cadila, which is developing DNA vaccines, has finished its vaccination trial for those between the ages of 12 and 18. The Central government also told the court that the Drug Controller General of India has allowed Bharat Biotech to start a clinical trial on volunteers between the age of 12 years and 18 years for its Covaxin vaccine.
During the session, the court declined a request to make the process time-bound. It said that there could not be a time limit for research, reported The Indian Express.
"They are saying trials are on, and it is on the verge of completion. You want a time-bound schedule?" added the court. It further said that everybody is in a hurry, but a foolproof trial is needed. Otherwise, it can cause a disaster.
The Argument Of The Petition
The petitioners in the plea have argued that more children have been affected in the second wave of COVID-19 which was much more virulent than the first wave. They said that news reports based on the advice of medical doctors and virologists, who predicted that a third wave would affect more children, should not be ignored.
The petitioners further argued that the government's inaction in vaccinating the children and their parents, being their primary caregivers, as a priority category has violated the National Policy on Children 2013. The petition read that authorities have ignored the national and international medical data opinion, which said vaccinating the children and their parents is an essential component for breaking the chain of COVID-19 transmission. It also pointed out that other countries where the pandemic has been felt have already started administering vaccine doses to children.
Meanwhile, in Puducherry, 20 children were hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19 on July 15, as said by Director of Health and Family Welfare services S Mohan Kumar. The children were admitted to the Indira Gandhi Government Medical College Hospital at Kadirkamam.