Apollo Hospitals will offer free vaccinations against coronavirus for children with specific comorbidities across the hospital network, it announced on Monday.
“It is anticipated that approval will soon be granted for vaccinating children with specified co-morbidities and immediately post-approval and details of the age-group permitted for vaccination, the free vaccination initiative would be launched by Apollo Hospitals,” Apollo Hospitals said in a release.
“The list is expected to include children with haematological, neurological, cardiac, liver, gastrointestinal, rheumatic, cancer, respiratory, genitourinary, and developmental disorders,” the release added.
This is a symptomatic list and the final list of comorbidities eligible for free vaccination would be as per the list published by the government said Apollo. Apollo said it will be offering Covaxin and ZyCoV-D at its vaccination centers all over the country once all government approvals are in place and the vaccines are made available.
However, India hasn’t officially begun vaccinating children. The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) is yet to approve it while the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) recommended emergency use authorisation (EUA) of Covaxin in children of 2-18 years.
Covaxin is administered with a gap of 28 days. ZyCov-D received EUA for ages 12-18 years, but is yet to be launched. The government is yet to decide the pricing of the three doses vaccine.
“Adults have been the focus of vaccination till now as by and large, children have been spared from severe COVID infection. However, this is not the case in children with co-morbidities. These children continue to be at high risk of developing a severe infection,” said Dr Prathap C Reddy, chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group.
“Realising the criticality of this vaccination, we will be extending the COVID vaccines completely free of cost to children with co-morbidities and giving them the necessary ‘kavach’ (shield) against COVID,” Reddy said.
Apollo Hospital, which is the largest private-sector vaccinator said it administered over 5 million vaccine doses