Friday, December 1, 2023

PM Modi announces vaccine for 15-18 age group: Mixed vaccines shots a solution?

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Amidst the Omicron scare, the Centre has given a big boost to the vaccination drive by extending it to teenagers in the 15-18 age group. Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation on the occasion of Christmas, i.e December 25, to announce the rollout of vaccination programme to children as well as the approval of booster doses for frontline workers and people above the age of 60 with co-morbidities on the advice of their doctor.

With vaccination being rollout for teenagers, the big question we are asking is should government consider mixing two different vaccines, for complete vaccination? Or stick to two doses of the same vaccine, just like rest of the population.

The arguments for mixing and matching vaccines include the facts that it makes higher level of virus-blocking antibodies, higher level of antibody responses and minimal side effects. The arguments against it are limited data on efficacy and no safety signals. Meanwhile, the countries that have already gone ahead to approve mixed vaccines include France, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Bahrain, Canada, China and Finland.

Meanwhile, the DGCI (Drug Controller General Of India) on Saturday cleared Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for emergency use for children of the age group of 12 to 18 years. The announcement to roll out Covid-19 vaccines to children was made soon after, keeping in mind the Omicron scare that has been looming large over the country and was a big concern among parents.

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