Amidst the ongoing vaccination drive against the Coronavirus infection in India, several tweets and Whatsapp forwards have been doing rounds on the internet. One of the claims center around the supposed ‘approval’ of indigenous Covaxin vaccine for children above the age of 12 years. “Bharat Biotech’s (Made in India) Covaxin Approved for Children above 12 years,” read a Whatsapp message.
It must be mentioned that last month, the government gave a nod to the 3rd phase of the vaccination programme wherein individuals between the age of 18 and 44 became eligible to take jabs from May 1 onwards. In a tweet by the Press Information Bureau (PIB), it clarified, “This claim is #Fake. No such approval has been given by the Government of India. Currently, citizens above the age of 18 are eligible for COVID19Vaccination.”
A tweet has claimed that Bharat Biotech’s vaccine, Covaxin, has been approved for children above 12 years.#PIBFactCheck: This claim is #Fake. No such approval has been given by the Government of India. Currently, citizens above the age of 18 are eligible for #COVID19Vaccination pic.twitter.com/qdzBSfwllq— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) May 9, 2021
As of now, children and pregnant women are not included in India’s vaccination drive as trial data is awaited for vaccines among those groups. The m-RNA vaccines in the US have been made open to children under 12. The same is yet to be permitted for vaccines that are being used in India, that is, Covaxin and Covishield.
Coronavirus vaccination drive in India
The vaccination programme kickstarted in India on January 16, after the government approved Covishield (developed by Oxford-Astrazeneca) and the emergency use of Covaxin. The vaccination drive was conducted in several phases, starting with the inoculation of Healthcare workers, frontline workers, people above the age of 60, individuals above 45 with co-morbidities, individuals above 45 without co-morbidities, and now individuals between 18 and 44 years. As of May 10, a total of 17,01,76,603 vaccine doses have administered according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
In a recent innovative move, the Civil Aviation Ministry has given a nod to the Telangana government to use drones for experimental delivery of vaccines using drone flights. “This exemption will remain valid for a period of one year from the date of approval of the said SOPs or until further orders, whichever is earlier,” said the letter of approval. In a press release from the office of Telangana IT and Industries Minister KT Rama Rao, the airspace in Vikarabad has been identified for the project and is currently being reviewed by the Ministry of Home Affairs.