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The Serum Institute Of India's (SII) Covid-19 vaccine Covovax has been approved on Tuesday by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for children between the age group of 7 and 12 years. 

The DCGI's nod for restricted emergency use in children came after the subject expert committee on Covid-19 of the CSDCO last week recommended granting emergency use authorisation to Covovax for the age group of 7 to 11 years.

Prakash Kumar Singh, director, Government and Regulatory Affairs at SII had submitted an application to the India's central drug authority in this regard on 16 March.

''The SEC last week deliberated on the EUA application of SII and recommended granting emergency use authorisation for Covovax for children aged 7 to 11 years,'' an official source told news agency PTI.

The expert panel, in its last meeting in April, had sought more data from the Pune-based firm over the application.

Last month, Serum's Chief Executive Officer Adar Poonawalla had clarified that Covovax is available for everyone above the age of 12 years.

"A lot of you have asked if Covovax is available for adults. The answer is yes, it is available for everyone above the age of 12," Poonawalla had tweeted.

Last year in December, the government had cleared Covovax for restricted use in an emergency situation in adults and in the 12 to 17 years age group subject to certain conditions on 9 March.

India began inoculating children aged 12-14 years from 16 March. The nationwide vaccination campaign was rolled out on 16 January, 2021, with healthcare workers getting inoculated in the first phase. Covid-19 vaccination of frontline workers started from 2 February last year.

The next phase of Covid-19 vaccination commenced on 1 March last year for people over 60 years of age and those aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions.

The country launched vaccination for all people aged more than 45 years from 1 April last year. The government then decided to expand its vaccination drive by allowing everyone above 18 years of age to be inoculated against the viral disease from 1 May last year.

The next phase of vaccination commenced from 3 January for adolescents in the age group of 15-18 years.

India began administering precaution doses of vaccines to healthcare and frontline workers and those aged 60 and above with comorbidities from 10 January. 

Precaution dose of coronavirus vaccines for all aged above 18 years began at private vaccination centres from 10 April.

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