Apollo Hospitals, in a statement, said, however, it is an “indicative list” and the “final list of co-morbidities eligible for free vaccination would be as per the list published by the government”.
Zydus Cadila's Covid vaccine ZyCoV-D has already received Emergency Use Authorisation from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), and will be administered to those aged 12 years and above. It is yet to be introduced in the nationwide Covid vaccination programmes.
As for emergency use approval for Bharat Biotech's Covaxin in the 2-18 years age group by the DCGI, it is under expert evaluation, said reports.
The list of co-morbidities announced by the group, was made “after consulting with the government.”
The statement said, “It is anticipated that approval will soon be granted for vaccinating children with specified co-morbidities and immediately post-approval, and details of the age-group permitted for vaccination, the free vaccination initiative would be launched by Apollo Hospitals across its units.”
It said, “The list is expected to include children with haematological, neurological, cardiac, liver, gastrointestinal, rheumatic, cancer, respiratory, genitourinary and developmental disorders.”
Dr. Prathap C Reddy, Chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group, said, “Adults have been the focus of vaccination till now as by and large, children have been spared from severe Covid infection. However, this is not the case in children with co-morbidities. These children continue to be at high risk of developing a severe infection. In addition, children with comorbidities have also seen a significant psychosocial impact as the lockdown resulted in their missing out on the personalised attention and specialised treatment and care that they require.”
He added, “Realising the criticality of this vaccination, we will be extending the Covid vaccines completely free of cost to children with co-morbidities and giving them the necessary ''kavach'' (shield) against Covid.”