The Covid vaccine for babies is likely to be ready by October this year and the first dose can be given in the same month of their birth, said P C Nambiar, director, Group EXIM at Serum Institute of India Pvt Ltd, which manufactures the Covishield vaccine.
While addressing a function in Kochi, he said that the same vaccine will be further developed as a medicine if children are tested Covid-19 positive. Also, Serum Institute of India will produce four more Covid vaccines and all of them will be ready for use by the end of the year.
“The Novovax vaccine will be made available by June and its tests are proceeding fast. The vaccine for babies will be ready by October. The Phase 2 clinical trial of COVI-VAC vaccine developed in association with Codagenix has been completed,” Nambiar said.
Nambiar said that the production of Covishield will be increased to 20 crore doses per month from April. “Currently, we make 10 crore doses every month and it needs to be increased to meet the requirements of the central government. However, the commercial sale of the vaccine will be decided only as per the directions by the Centre. They want to prevent the black-market sale of the vaccine,” he added.
Replying to the questions whether the state government has approached Serum Institute for direct purchase, Nambiar said no such discussions were held. “The Kerala government has not approached us for direct purchase of vaccines. All dealings are directly with the central government and they control the distribution,” he said.
Nambiar said that Covishield is effective for all mutated Covid-19 viruses as it is a malaria-based vaccine and not based on any particular strain of coronavirus. “The mutation will be a problem for those vaccines which are based on one particular coronavirus strain. Covishield is the same as the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which is also a malaria-based vaccine. Hence, mutations will not be a problem,” he said.
However, Nambiar said that even though the first dose is taken, vaccinated people have to wear masks and follow sanitation protocols. “The second dose will be taken only after 29 days and the antibody production will be complete only after 21 days of taking the second dose. So, until then, the vaccine will not be enough to protect the body from infection. But even after that people have to wear masks and sanitize as vaccinated people still could be carriers of virus, though it won’t affect them,” he said.
Rejecting the reports of side-effects post vaccination, Nambiar said that mild headache or fever is a common reaction. He also said that those who were cured of Covid will also have to take the vaccine as they will have immunity against the virus only for a short-term.
Source: The Times of India
BDST: 1322 HRS, JAN 31, 2021