India has approved two homegrown vaccines for children under the age of 12 amid a slight rise in COVID-19 cases.
Covaxin, made by Bharat Biotech, has been granted emergency use permission for the six-12 age group, health minister Mansukh Mandaviya tweeted. It is already administered to children aged 12-18, and adults.
Two other vaccines have also been given emergency approval – Corbevax for children aged five-12; and Zydus’s two-dose jab for children above 12. Corbevax is also currently being administered to children in the 12-14 age group.
The emergency-use nod doesn’t mean India will immediately start vaccinating children younger than 12 – that can only begin once the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation gives a green signal.
India has so far administered over 1.87 billion doses since it began COVID-19 vaccinations in January 2021.
The country has recorded a small rise in new COVID-19 cases over the past week, with the capital Delhi accounting for almost half of the 2,500 new infections on Tuesday.
About 80% of eligible adults have been fully vaccinated and more than 99% have received at least one jab so far.
Since 10 January, India has also been administering booster shots to healthcare and frontline workers, and those above 60 with comorbidities.
It also started vaccinating 15-18-year-olds the same month, and later expanded the drive to include children over the age of 12.