Third Wave of Covid-19 & Children: Centre Releases Myths & Facts Amid Rising Concerns

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Amid fears of a surge in Covid-19 among children in the potential third wave, the Centre on Wednesday reiterated that children are often asymptomatic and health infrastructure are being made for their treatment.

The government in a release addressing concerns raised in the media regarding higher vulnerability of children by COVID-19 during the subsequent waves said experts have allayed these fears and apprehensions on several platforms.

Dr VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog at the Union Health Ministry’s media briefing on COVID-19 on June 1 had informed that adequate arrangements are being made in terms of healthcare infrastructure in order to provide effective care and treatment to children who may get infected. He had further said that COVID-19 in children is often asymptomatic and seldom requires hospitalization. “However, it is possible that a small percentage of children who get infected may need hospitalization,” the statement said.

The Centre also cited Dr Randeep Guleria, Director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) New Delhi who had said that healthy children recovered with mild illness without need for hospitalization while the ones admitted in the hospital due to Covid-19 infection during the second wave in India either had co-morbidities or low immunity.

Highlighting that vaccination forms an integral component of the government’s five-point strategy to fight the pandemic (including Test, Track, Treat and COVID Appropriate Behaviour), the statement further quoted Dr NK Arora, Chairperson of the COVID-19 Working Group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) who had said the Covaxin trials have been started on children aged between 2 – 18 years and the results for the same will be received by September to October this year.

The statement comes a week after the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued guidelines for 'Management of COVID-19 in children (below 18 years). The document detailed guidance on symptoms, various treatments, monitoring and management including Infection Prevention and Control (IPC), advice for using masks etc.

The Union Health Ministry and various experts have regularly emphasised the need for COVID Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) for children as well as adults to break the chain of transmission of the virus.

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