Coronavirus vaccines for 5-12 years children

JNS: Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), India’s drug regulator on Tuesday approved the emergency use of two Covid-19 vaccines, Biological E’s Corbevax and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, for children, aged between 5 to 12 years.

Corbevax was approved for administration in children aged 5-12 years while Covaxin was cleared for use in those aged 6-12 years.

On Tuesday, Bharat Biotech said according to data on Covaxin for the 2-18 years age group, neutralising antibodies in children was found to be 1.7 times higher than in adults.

“Covaxin exhibits robust immune responses in children with two doses and six months follow-up, indicating durability of immune responses. Data was presented to the CDSCO Subject Expert Committee and will be published in the weeks to come,” it said.

Though, on Tuesday, DCGI also granted emergency use authorisation to Gujarat-based Zydus Cadila’s two-dose formulation of Covid-19 vaccine— ZyCov-D, for the 12 years and above.

Presently, the three-dose version of ZyCoV-D is being used in the national vaccination drive for the adult population. This is the first Covid-19 vaccine built on a DNA platform, and has been approved for commercial use.

Zydus said the second dose will be administered after 28 days. It said the two-dose regimen was tested on 3,100 volunteers over 12 years of age. In its three-dose regimen, the vaccine is administered with a gap of 28 days between each jab.

Covishield, Covaxin price cuts to Rs 225 per dose for private hospitals

JNS: The prices of Covid vaccine, COVISHIELD (Serum Institute) and COVAXIN (Bharat Biotech) have been slashed for private hospitals.

The price of the Covishield vaccine has been reduced from 600 rupees to 225 rupees per dose for private hospitals, tweeted Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute of India (SII).

He said the decision has been taken after discussion with the central government. He also commended the decision of the centre to open precautionary doses to everyone above 18 years of age.

Meanwhile, Suchitra Ella, Bharat Biotech’s Co-founder and Joint Managing Director, tweeted: “After consultation with the central government, Bharat Biotech has decided to revise the price from 1200 rupees to 225 rupees per dose for private hospitals.”

She also welcomed the decision to make available precautionary doses for all adults.

COVID vaccine precaution dose for all above 18 years

JNS: Government has decided to make precaution doses of COVID vaccines available to the above 18 population group from tomorrow at private vaccination centres.

“All those who are more than 18 years of age and have completed nine months after the administration of the second dose, will be eligible for Precaution Dose,” said Union Health Ministry.

Around 96 per cent of all above 15 populations in the country have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose so far, while about 83 per cent of above 15 populations has received both doses, it said.

More than two crore 40 lakh Precaution Doses have also been administered to Healthcare Workers, Frontline Workers and above 60 population group while 45 per cent of 12 to 14 years age group has also received the first dose, it said.

The ongoing free immunizations programme for the first and second doses to the eligible population, as well as the Precaution Dose to Healthcare Workers, Frontline Workers, and people over the age of 60, will be continued.

“XE”— a new mutant coronavirus, WHO warns of another pandemic in-waiting

News Desk:

“XE” —a new mutant variant of SARS-CoV-2 virus is supremely contagious and could cause a new high-risk COVID wave, warned the World Health Organisation (WHO). It was originally discovered in the UK on January 19th, 2022. At the moment, it’s the most prevalent strain, accounting for 86% of all recent COVID cases.

Recent research reveals that the new XE strain is ten times more transmissible than the earlier strains of the disease. According to the reports, this new variant is a recombinant strain, meaning it is a mutant hybrid of the two previous versions of the Omicron variant,

BA.1 and BA.2, which spread across the world when it first became a variant of concern.

A UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) study recently revealed that currently as many are 3 hybrid COVID variants are circulating. The two different combinations of Delta and BA.1 are XD and XF and the third is XE.

Concern over the high levels of transmissibility WHO cautioned of another pandemic in-waiting. Though, WHO also clarified that till the new variant is studied further and significant differences are identified, it will continue to be categorised as part of the Omicron variant.

The newest variant of coronavirus does not lead to any severe symptoms, but it spreads rapidly. Fatigue and dizziness are some of the initial symptoms, followed by headaches, sore throat, muscle soreness and fever.

But the most common symptoms of coronavirus such as the loss of smell and taste are rarely reported in people affected with the new Omicron variant. Some other possible gastrointestinal signs like diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, stomach ache and others are quite common.

“Reduce Covishield vaccine gap” : NTAGI

JNS: Amidst rising COVID cases in European and few Asian countries, the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) has recommended reducing the gap between the first and second dose of Covid vaccine Covishield to 8 to 16 weeks.

At present, the second dose of Covishield is being administered 12-16 weeks after the first dose under the national vaccination drive. India’s apex body on immunisation now recommends this be curbed to ramp up the administration of the second dose of Covishield to the remaining population amid rising cases in European nations and some other countries.

Notably, on 13 May 2021, the government extended the gap between the first and second doses of the Covishield vaccine from 6-8 weeks to 12-16 weeks, based on the recommendations by NTAGI that provides guidance to the Union Health Ministry on the immunisation.

Resurge in COVID-19 cases— WHO warns …

#The WHO said that new infections jumped by 8% globally compared to the previous week, with 11 million new cases and just over 43,000 new deaths reported from 7 to 13 March.

JNS: The World Health Organization (WHO) issued an alert on Thursday in response to a rise of Covid-19 cases. The UN body urged governments to be watchful in the face of the epidemic.

After more than a month of reduction, Covid cases began to rise globally last week, according to the WHO, with China’s Jilin province trying to manage the outbreak. Just a few days ago, the WHO had noted that the countries were reporting a reduced and incorrect way of testing.

The surge is caused by a combination of factors, including the highly transmissible Omicron variant and its BA.2 sublineage, and the lifting of public health and social measures.

The WHO said new infections jumped by 8 per cent globally compared to the previous week, with 11 million new cases and just over 43,000 new deaths reported from March 7-13. It is the first rise since the end of January. The biggest jump includes South Korea and China, where cases rose by 25 per cent and deaths by 27 per cent.

“These increases are occurring despite reductions in testing in some countries, which means the cases we’re seeing are just the tip of the iceberg,” WHO’s head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

The WHO chief also said the problem of low vaccination rate and “huge amount of misinformation”, also explained the rise.

Africa also saw a 12 per cent rise in new cases and a 14 per cent rise in deaths, and Europe a 2 per cent rise in cases but no jump in deaths. Other regions reported declining cases, including the eastern Mediterranean region, although this area saw a 38 per cent rise in deaths linked to a previous spike in infections.

Experts have raised concerns that Europe might face another coronavirus wave as Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the UK might see a rise in the cases.

WHO’s Maria Van Kerkhove said at the briefing that BA.2 appears to be the most transmissible variant.

However, there are no signs that it causes more severe disease and no evidence that any other new variants are driving the rise in cases. Further, experts have also warned that the US could soon see a similar wave like Europe, driven by BA.2.

“We just have to avoid thinking that Covid is no longer there. And therefore maintain the strictly necessary measures, which are essentially the continuous monitoring and tracking of cases, and the maintenance of the obligation to wear a mask in closed or very crowded places,” Antonella Viola, Professor of immunology at the Italy’s University of Padua said.

As each country is facing a different situation, the WHO has kept cautioning that the pandemic is not over yet, calling on all countries to remain vigilant.

According to Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, the virus will “wax and wane” as “it has not settled down into a purely, seasonal or predictable pattern yet,” according to Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme.

“We need to be very cautious. We need to watch this very carefully, and we need to focus on getting the most vulnerable appropriately vaccinated. And we need to do that as quickly as possible in every country,” he said.

DCGI grants EUA to Corbevax for children between 12-18 years

JNS: Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has granted Emergency Use Authorisation to COVID-19 vaccine Corbevax for children between 12-18 years of age group.

With the emergency use approval to Corbevax, the country has now two Covid-19 vaccines for children including Covaxin which is already in use for the children aged 15 to 18 years, said Dr VK Paul, Health, a member of NITI Aayog.

The vaccine has been developed by Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical company Biological E Ltd which country’s first indigenously developed Receptor Binding Domain protein sub-unit COVID-19 vaccine.

In December 2021, the vaccine had received emergency use authorisation for the adults. The Corbevax vaccine is administered through an intramuscular route with two doses scheduled 28 days apart and is stored at 2 to 8 degree Celsius temperature.

COVID-19 restrictions extended till 28 February

JNS: The ongoing COVID-19 restrictions have been extended till 28 February. It stated in an order released by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). The MHA also asked the states not to let their guard down as cases decline, but new variants continue to emerge.

Over 22 lakhs active COVID cases have been reported in the country due to the current COVID wave, lead by the new variant Omicron.

“Though a majority of active cases are recovering fast and a low percentage of cases are in hospitals, it is still a matter of concern that 407 districts in 34 States and Union Territories are reporting a positivity rate of more than 10 per cent,” the order reveals.

Looking at the current trends of COVID virus, there is a need to exercise caution and vigilance. States were asked to observe all precautions and not let the guard down, it stated.

“Imposition and lifting of local restrictions should be dynamic and should be based on the case positivity and hospitalisation status at the local level,” the letter said.

Confusion over the “booster dose” leaves elderly people under stress

by Ashis Sinha

# Elderly person who has completed both vaccine doses is only eligible for the booster dose of the vaccine. “The prioritization and sequencing of this precaution dose would be based on the completion of 9 months (39 weeks) from the date of administration of the second dose.


JNS: Amidst confusion over the precautionary dose of COVID-19 vaccine among health care workers and the elderly people who should receive the vaccine shot is being administrated at PHCs in the district.

All the elderly people of 60 years and above, including health care and frontline workers, are being administered booster doses, informed a district administrative official.

Meanwhile, all those above 60 are being administered the vaccine in some vaccination session sites. In others, only those who have crossed the age of 60 and are with comorbidities are being vaccinated, leaving the senior citizens unnecessarily stressed.

“A couple of days earlier, I went to take a booster dose at a PHC. After a long wait, when my turn came, the health staff denied administering the vaccine to me, asking for a doctor’s prescription. I am a cardiac patient,” said S Kumar, a senior citizen residing at Siwandih.

A district health department official said, the third and final dose, known as the “booster dose”, will be reminded to be taken by the eligible elderly people by SMS.

However, the Civil Surgeon of Bokaro, Dr. Jitendra Kumar said, “anyone above the age of 60 who has been vaccinated twice will be eligible for a booster dose of the vaccine.”

As per the guidelines, the elderly person who has completed both vaccine doses is only eligible for the booster dose of the vaccine. “The prioritization and sequencing of this precaution dose would be based on the completion of 9 months (39 weeks) from the date of administration of the second dose,” it said in the guidelines.

A health official said, “The government has recently abolished the necessity for older adults with comorbidities to get required certificates. At the time of administering a precautionary dose, “all patients aged 60 years and over with comorbidities will not be required to produce/submit any certificate from the doctor.”

However, it has been suggested that senior citizens with comorbidities must go for the precautionary dose only after the advice of the doctor, he said.

The government said earlier that senior citizens with comorbidities should produce a doctor’s certificate before receiving the precautionary dose.

AYUSH Minister appeals mass to use Ayuraksha kit

JNS: Union AYUSH Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has appealed to people to use Ayuraksha kit to fight against COVID 19.

Sonowal told reporters in Guwahati on Saturday that the kit is made up of four parts. He stated that other AYUSH remedies, such as Arsenicum Album 30, might be used in consultation with physicians.

Health and AYUSH ministry are working together to contain the COVID situation, the minister said.

Practice of Yoga can boost the immunity, urged Sonowal and appealed to mass to do Yoga regularly. He said that AYUSH ministry will conduct Surya Namaskar program on 14th of January.