Srinagar: With the approval of Covaxin for children, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Saturday said the vaccine will pave way for reopening of schools.
“Vaccination will play an important role in getting children back to classrooms,” said DAK President and influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
He said prolonged closure of schools due to Covid-19 has impacted education at all levels. Not only academic learning, school closure has resulted in loss of social and emotional learning which is important for holistic development of children.
“Now we have the vaccine that would help children to return to classrooms and ensure safe learning in schools,” he said.
The DAK President said subject expert committee on Tuesday recommended granting emergency use authorization to Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for children in the 2-18 years age group.
“The vaccine has been found to be safe and effective in preventing Covid-19 in children,” he added. “The pediatric vaccine can also prevent further waves of Covid-19,” Dr Hassan said.
He said while children mostly get mild illness, they can spread the virus to others.
“It is hard to defeat Covid-19 pandemic without vaccinating children,” Dr Nisar said.
He said we won’t be able to achieve herd immunity until children are vaccinated.
Herd immunity is achieved when most of the population in a community is immune to the disease so that the virus can no longer spread easily from person to person.
“In order to achieve herd immunity to Covid-19, 80-90 percent people need to be vaccinated. That is unlikely to be achieved, if children who constitute a huge proportion of the population are unvaccinated,” he said adding that there are around 4.8 million children in Jammu and Kashmir which constitute 38.4 percent of the JK’s population. “Pediatric vaccine will not only help children, but it will be the basis of eventually eliminating Covid-19 in our population,” said Dr Nisar.