Srinagar, May 20: The Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Thursday said vaccinating children holds the key to avert third Covid-19 wave which is predicted to happen sometime in the fall of this year.
“Getting children vaccinated against Covid could prevent third wave which is expected to affect kids the most,” said DAK President and influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
‘The first wave of the pandemic affected the elderly, second wave is affecting the youth more and the third wave is expected to attack children,” he said.
Dr Hassan said if we vaccinate our children now, third wave may not happen,”
“Pfizer vaccine has been approved for use in children between 12 and 15 years of age. The vaccine is already given to people as young as 16. The vaccine has been found to be safe and 100 percent effective in preventing Covid-19 in children,” he said.
“We should import this vaccine and start vaccinating children,” Dr Hassan said.
“While Bharat Biotech has been permitted to test Covaxin in children, it has yet to start trials,” he said.
The DAK President said it is hard to defeat Covid-19 pandemic without vaccinating children.
“We won’t be able to achieve herd immunity until children are vaccinated,” he said.
“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.”
He said in order to achieve herd immunity to Covid-19, more than 70 percent people need to be vaccinated.
That is unlikely to be achieved, if children who constitute a huge proportion of the population are unvaccinated.
There are around 4.8 million kids in Jammu and Kashmir who are unimmunized.
“And, if we leave a large number of the population unimmunized, we will continue to have fresh waves and pandemic will linger on,” Dr Nisar said.
“While most children who get Covid-19 infection develop mild illness, several hundreds have died of respiratory failure or an inflammatory syndrome,” he said.
“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,” said Dr Nisar.
“A pediatric vaccine would not only help children, but it will be the basis of eventually eliminating Covid-19 in our population,” he added.