Srinagar: With omicron appearing to spread much faster than previous strains of the virus, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Saturday called for vaccinating children against Covid-19.
“Amid Omicron variant threat Covid vaccination for children becomes crucial,” said DAK President and Influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
“Up until now, Covid-19 has caused mild symptoms in children. But in South Africa where the Omicron variant is now the dominant strain, there has been an increase in hospital admissions among young kids,” he said.
The DAK President said the country is seeing a rise in severe Covid infections in children under 5 years of age.
“Researchers believe lack of vaccination among children may be the result of increase in hospitalization,” he said
“That makes Covid vaccine vitally important for children,” he added.
Dr Nisar said children were not affected severely by the Covid pandemic in the past. Now we are seeing a sharp increase in cases particularly in young kids.
“While most of the elderly and adults have been vaccinated, children have not been included in the vaccination drive yet,” he said adding it is unjust to allow kids to take on great burdens during the pandemic but not give them the opportunity to benefit from a vaccine.
Spokesperson DAK Dr Riyaz Ahmad Dagga said vaccinating children will protect them from getting Covid and can also help keep them from getting seriously sick even if they do get Covid-19.
“Covid-19 vaccine is required for children to return to classrooms and is important for ensuring a safe learning environment in schools,” he said.
General Secretary DAK Dr Arshad Ali said the pediatric vaccine would not only help children, but it will be the basis of eventually eliminating Covid-19 in our population.
“We won’t be able to defeat Covid-19 until children are vaccinated. It is hard to beat the pandemic without vaccinating children who constitute nearly 40 percent of the population,” he said
“Many countries have already started vaccinating children.
India, too, has two indigenous vaccines, approved for use in children.”
“While ZyCoV-D has received emergency use authorization in children aged 12-18 years, Covaxin has been recommended for use in children aged 2 to 18 years in October,” he added