NEW DELHI: The Centre will take a careful approach in initiating Covid vaccination among children and deliberate on it only after experts recommend such a plan of action, health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said during the Times Now Summit on Thursday.
“This decision (introduction of vaccine for children) needs to be taken very cautiously. We do not want to rush in administering vaccines to children. Children are the future of our country. The government will take expert opinion and go by it,” Mandaviya said, underlining that other countries have also been careful in introducing the jabs for children even though emergency use authorisation has been granted.

The minister’s remarks indicate that the decision on vaccination for children is not round the corner. Government has noted that the high prevalence of antibodies detected in adults in sero surveys conducted by the Centre and the states are also reflected in children who have not been vaccinated. This has encouraged officals to deliberate more on the decision on vaccinating children.
Emphasising that India has adequate vaccines and has been forthcoming in supporting other countries with medical products and services, Mandaviya said India will be a major supplier of affordable Covid vaccines to the world in future. “We will provide vaccines to the world in future and that will be low-cost vaccine – not the one for $15-18 but for $3-4 – and people across the world will take it. We can help poor countries like that and this the Indian culture,” Mandaviya said.
A total of 31 crore doses of Covid-vaccines will be supplied in November and companies have been constantly increasing manufacturing capacity. More companies are going to start vaccine manufacturing in India and production will increase further in coming months to meet requirement worldwide, he added.
At present, the government is focused on maximising coverage of first and second doses of vaccines. While 16 crore unutilised doses of Covid vaccine are available with states and UTs, 79% of eligible population has been covered with the first dose, whereas 38% have received both. Over 12 crore people are due for their second dose.
While the Centre remains confident of meeting the December deadline for full coverage of the adult population, Mandaviya said it is pushing states to ensure the results at the earliest.
The health minister also said that the government has used the opportunity to ramp up health infrastructure and facility across the country so that it is prepared to efficiently tackle any such future pandemic or health emergency.

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