AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria recently said that “there is not enough evidence” to suggest that the Covid-19 third wave will predominantly affect children.
Guleria told News18, “I think even in the coming wave will be protected because of the very nature of the virus that it causes less infection in children."
He claimed that even though there is less evidence on the third wave's possible impact on children, some measures are being taken to make sure that minors are protected from the SARS-CoV-2 infection.
According to Dr Guleria: “We will have some degree of protection for children because there are trials of vaccines for children and data should be out soon.”
“Most vaccinologists think that the vaccine should be safe in children…Hopefully, in the next three-four months we will have vaccine approved for children," he added.
The AIIMS expert also pointed out the reasons behind children showing fewer cases.
As per him: “One factor is that the ace receptors to which the virus binds itself to the human cells are relatively less in children as compared to adults."
“There is enough epidemiological evidence to suggest that even if the whole family is infected, it causes much milder disease in the children. It should continue even as the new waves come," he concluded.
But many healthcare professionals think otherwise.
According to other experts, in rare cases, children can become very sick with Covid-19 and and in some cases, even deaths have occurred, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Healthcare experts also noted that children with underlying conditions, such as obesity, diabetes and asthma, might be at higher risk of serious illness with Covid-19.
The Third Wave And Children
Not only in India but experts from Singapore have also suggested that the third wave will affect children.
Virologist Dr V Ravi told the Hindustan Times that it is common sense that the coronavirus will attack people who are not immune.
He said that immunity can be gained through infection or via vaccination.
“Adults, more people are getting infected — most in the first wave and second wave. Adults have vaccine so they are getting vaccinated. Children in the first wave we had only 4 per cent (infection) across the country, in the second wave 10-15 per cent,” the expert said.
Dr Ravi explained that now almost 60 per cent of children are vulnerable as there are no vaccines for them.
Two other doctors, Dr Bakul J Parekh and Dr Samir H Dalwai have suggested to News 18 that the government should consider vaccinating children.
They said: “The number of children with Covid-19 needing hospitalisation and intensive care has significantly gone up.”
“This has brought children (or an additional 40 per cent of the population) directly into the segment of patients suffering from Covid-19 infection who would need significant medical care,” said the doctors.
Understanding all these issues, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and now Punjab have already started to prepare for the third wave which would impact children.
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