10 FAQs on Covid-19 vaccines for children by a pediatrician



The last two years have been exceedingly difficult for children and their parents because of school closures. The school closures have led to increase in mental health issues and obesity in children. With the recent opening of schools, parents are fearful of their children contacting Covid-19. It’s time you know some facts on Covid-19 vaccine for kids.

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has given emergency use authorization to Corbevax for children aged 5 to 12, and to Covaxim for children aged 6 to 12 years. The Zydus vaccine has now been approved as two dose schedules for children 12-14 years. Covovax has also received approval for children 12-17 years of age.

Pediatricians are receiving calls from parents regarding the safety, efficacy, and long-term side effects of these vaccines, in the midst of a rise in Covid-19 cases in India.

Here’s what parents and kids need to know about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, the possible side effects, and the benefits of getting vaccinated.

FAQs on Covid-19 vaccines for children

1. Which Covid-19 vaccines for children have been approved for use?

Four vaccines are now available for use in children.

Covaxim vaccine has been developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with ICMR. This vaccine is a whole cell inactivated vaccine.

Corbevax vaccine has been developed by Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical firm Biological E, in collaboration with Texas Children’s Hospital Centre for Vaccine Development and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. It is protein subunit vaccine against Covid-19.

ZyCoV-D is a DNA plasmid-based Covid-19 vaccine developed by Cadila Healthcare, with support from the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council.

Covovax is manufactured in India by Serum Institute of India in collaboration with Novavax of USA. Covovax is a protein nano particle vaccine.

covid-19 vaccination
India recently announced vaccine for children aged 5-12 years. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. How safe are these Covid-19 vaccines for children?

All these vaccines are safe and well-tolerated. No severe or life-threatening adverse reactions were observed in the trials. All these vaccines will continue to be closely monitored for any adverse reactions.

3. How effective are these Covid-19 vaccines in children?

Covaxin had an overall efficacy of 78 percent against Covid-19 and 93 percent against severe disease in adults. The clinical trials showed superior antibodies in children when compared to adults.

Corbevax trials report a vaccine effectiveness of 90 percent for prevention of symptomatic infections. The ZyCoV- D overall efficacy in the trials have been reported as 67 percent in preventing Covid-19 and nearly 100 percent in preventing severe disease. And Covovax has shown an overall efficacy of over 90 percent in phase 3 clinical trials.

4. What are the side effects of Covid-19 vaccine in children aged between 2 and 18 years?

Most side effects are mild. The common side effects are pain, swelling at injection site, fever, chills, and malaise.

5. How many doses of vaccine will children need to take?

The above-mentioned vaccine is given as a two-dose schedule. The second dose of Covaxin, Corbevax and ZyCoV-D is given after a gap of 28 days. In the case of Covovax, the second dose is given after 21 days.

Covaxi, Corbevax and Covovax are administrated as intramuscular injection. And ZyCoV-D vaccine is administrated into the skin(intradermal) by a needle-less device.

covid-19 and kids
Prevention is better! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

6. Children with Covid-19 may be asymptomatic, so why do they need a Covid-19 vaccine?

Covid-19 vaccine can prevent your child from getting infected from other children and adults. Children with mild or asymptomatic Covid-19 can spread the virus that causes Covid-19 to parents and grandparents, who might be high risk for severe Covid infection If your child is fully vaccinated and gets Covid-19, the vaccine could prevent him or her from becoming severely ill.

7. Should all children get Covid vaccine?

The Covid-19 vaccine is not available for children less than 5 years age, and hence, they will not be vaccinated. Children who have severe allergic reaction to the components of the vaccine, should not take the vaccine.

If your child had an allergic reaction to the first dose, speak to your doctor before taking the second dose.

8. Can a Covid-19 vaccine give a child Covid-19?

The vaccines cannot give you Covid-19 disease. Covaxin is an inactivated Whole virus vaccine like the seasonal flu vaccine and has no live material. Corbevax is a protein subunit vaccine such as Hepatitis-B vaccine and some flu vaccines. ZyCoV-D vaccine uses only a part of DNA of Covid virus.

It is important to follow Covid-19 appropriate guidelines when visiting the caccination center.

9. When can my child take routine childhood vaccination after Covid-19 vaccination?

You should continue your child’s routine vaccination as per schedule.

covid-19 vaccines for children
Keep your family protected. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

10. When is my child considered fully vaccinated?

Children will be considered fully vaccinated after 2 weeks after the second of vaccination. After full vaccination, children can return to doing activities that they have missed during the pandemic with all due precautions as prescribed by local governments.

The last word

Covid vaccinations for children are safe and effective with minor side effects only. All children above 5 years who do not have any contraindication should be vaccinated when the vaccines are rolled out by the government.




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