In a major decision amid the resurgence of Covid cases in big cities like Delhi, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), the central drug authority for pharmaceuticals in India, has granted approval for the restricted emergency use of Covaxin and Corbevax Covid vaccines on 6-12 and 5-12 age groups, respectively.

Health minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya, announcing the CDSCO decision, said this will make India's fight against Covid even stronger. "CDSCO has given its approval for restricted use in emergency situations to Covaxin for children above 6-12 years of age, Corbevax for kids above 5-12 years of age. The approval has also been granted for two doses of ZyCov-D for those aged over 12," tweets the health minister.

Covaxin has been manufactured by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, while Corbevax is developed by Biological E, also based in Hyderabad. Gujarat-based Zydus Cadila is the developer of the ZyCov-D vaccine. A three-dose version of ZyCov-D, the world's first vaccine to be built on a DNA platform, is already being used in the government's national vaccination programme for 12-14 years. Corbevax is India's first recombinant protein subunit vaccine and claims to be the most affordable Covid-19 vaccine in India as well as globally. Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin is being used for the inoculation of people aged 18 or above.

India was administering vaccines to those above 12 years of age so far. With this approval, children above five will be able to get vaccinated under the restricted emergency use approval. In countries like the US and the UK, too, children above the age of 5 are being vaccinated.

The CDSCO nod comes amid rising cases of infections among schoolchildren after the country removed most of the Covid-induced curbs. The highly transmissible Omicron variant has been detected in India. The current approval will help the government to boost its vaccination programme.

The Centre had granted approval for the vaccination of the age group of 15-18 years on December 25, while the vaccination of the 12-14 years age group was announced on March 27. The Centre had allowed the precautionary or booster Covid-19 dose for all above 18 years of age from April 10 across private vaccination centres of the country. Those aged 18 years and who have completed 9 months after taking the 2nd Covid-19 dose are eligible for the booster shot across private centres.

India’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage has exceeded 187.95 crores as per provisional reports till 7 am today. The vaccination for 12-14 years was started on 16 March 2022. So far, over 2.70 crore adolescents have been administered with the first dose. Similarly, the precaution dose administration for 18-59 years started on April 10 and 4,68,211 doses have been administered so far.

India logged 2,483 new Covid cases in the past 24 hours, recording a marginal drop from yesterday's number of 2,541. With this, the active Covid caseload in the country stands at 16,522, while the case positivity rate is 0.55%, the health ministry's data shows.

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