New Delhi: Serum Institute of India (SII)’s Covid-19 vaccine, Covovax, will soon be made available at private facilities for children aged 12 and above, officials in the Union health ministry familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
Covovax is the second Covid vaccine manufactured by SII, which makes Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield vaccine, the dose that is most widely used in India.
While the government has not made any formal announcement on the inclusion of Covovax in its vaccination drive for children aged 12 and above, its Co-WIN platform – the online portal for Covid vaccination – said the vaccine is now available for the age group concerned.
“The government will not be rolling it out but people can get the doses at private vaccination centres against payment. The Centre is not procuring Covovax doses,” a senior official said on condition of anonymity, adding that private hospitals can procure the doses directly under the approved private procurement slot.
On December 28, the Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI) had approved Covovax for emergency use in adults, and approved the vaccine for emergency use in those aged 12 and above in March this year, making it the fourth Covid vaccine approved for emergency use in children in this age group.
The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI), the government’s technical panel, on April 29 had recommended inclusion of Covovax in the vaccination programme for children aged 12 and above.
A dose of Covovax will cost ₹225 (plus GST), in addition to the hospital service charge of ₹150, according to the price disclosed by the company in the past.
“The time span between first and second dose of Covovax is 21 days”, a notification on the Co-WIN platform said. “Children can be administered with the second dose of Covovax within a month,” it added. Provision to book slots for the vaccine was also available on the portal.
SII chief executive officer Adar Poonawalla tweeted that the vaccine is now available for children in India. “Covovax (@Novavax), is now available for children in India. This is the only vaccine manufactured in India that is also sold in Europe and has an efficacy of > 90%. This is in line with Shri @narendramodi Ji’s vision of providing yet another vaccine to protect our children,” he said.
Developed by US’s Novavax, Inc, Covovax is the only vaccine apart from mRNA platform doses that demonstrates an efficacy of more than 90% against the original Sars-Cov-2 virus, according to the company.
The vaccines currently being administered under the national Covid-19 immunization programme are Covaxin, Covishield and Corbevax.
While Covishield is available for all adults, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin is available for those aged 15 and above. Corbevax is being used for children in the 12-15 age group.