NTAGI to introduce Zydus Cadila’s ZyCoV-D jab in vaccination drive, prioritise 12-18 age group with comorbidities

New Delhi: After India approved its first COVID-19 vaccine for children, the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) will soon conduct a meeting to chalk out a plan for introducing Zydus Cadila’s  ZyCoV-D vaccine in the ongoing inoculation drive by prioritising those aged 12-18 years with comorbidities.

NTAGI Chairman Dr N K Arora said it is estimated that India has around 12 crore adolescents in the age group of 12-18 years and less than 1 per cent of them may have comorbidities.

“The NTAGI’s meeting will be held soon to chalk out a roadmap for introducing the three-dose ZyCoV-D vaccine in the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination drive. The meeting will also focus on prioritisation of beneficiaries as this vaccine is approved for both adolescents and adults,” Arora was quoted as saying by PTI.

Further, he added, “The aim is to develop a priority list with the focus being on adolescents aged 12-18 years with comorbidities.” The NTAGI will devise a framework for the introduction of this vaccine in the inoculation drive. 

Zydus Cadila’s ZyCoV-D received a nod for Emergency Use Authorisation from the Drug Controller General of India on August 20, 2021. The indigenously developed jab is touted as the world’s first DNA-based needle-free vaccine. It will be administered using The PharmaJet, a needle free applicator, which ensures painless intradermal vaccine delivery.

As per the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), ZyCoV-D, a three-dose vaccine, when injected produces the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and elicits an immune response, which plays a vital role in protection from the disease as well as viral clearance.

It is to be noted that interim results from Phase-III clinical trials in over 28,000 volunteers showed “a primary efficacy of 66.6 per cent for symptomatic RT-PCR positive cases. This has been the largest vaccine trial so far in India for COVID-19,” the DBT said. 

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