Dr. Naresh Trehan, chairman of Medanta, has raised an alarm over reopening of schools throughout the country. The senior doctor advocated for vaccination of children before they be sent to schools.
New Delhi [India], August 29 : Stating that India approved Zydus Cadila’s DNA vaccine for emergency use in adults and children, Medanta Chairman and Managing Director Dr Naresh Trehan on Sunday cautioned against the re-opening of schools and said that since the vaccine is around the corner, the government should wait for two-three months till the children get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Speaking to ANI Dr Trehan said, “I believe that we should be a lot more cautious. And the fact is that the vaccine is now around the corner because the drug controller just approved the Zydus vaccine. So even if people get one dose, we know that the protection goes up 30 per cent to 50 per cent. So, we should be patient for another two-three months till the vaccine arrives, children get vaccinated, and then they should be allowed to go to school but it seems we are in a rush right now to open schools.” Dr Trehan’s remarks came as the Delhi government announced the re-opening of schools in the national capital from September 1 for classes 9-12. But, students will need parents consent and no one will be forced to attend the classes. Some groups of doctors, academicians called for an immediate resumption of in-person classes in schools.
On August 23, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on Friday approved Zydus Cadila’s DNA vaccine for emergency use in adults and children aged 12 years and above. It is considered a timely move amid warnings of an upcoming third wave in the country. Recently, a committee of experts under the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) warned of the third COVID-19 wave that could peak around October and sought better preparedness for children.
Further speaking the Medanta Chairman and Managing Director said, “In US, schools opened but even after vaccination many children got infected, “If you look at the history that what is going on in the US where schools reopened and also a large number of children have been vaccinated because vaccine became available soon. The Association of Paediatrics in the US says that the number of cases after the schools have reopened has gone up from 38,000 per week in July to 180,000 per week in August.”
Further explaining the strategy that needs to be followed before re-opening of schools, Dr Trehan said “We have to look at every aspect of it. Primarily, all the students should be vaccinated when they go to school. Apart from this, there should be proper ventilation, and all the precautions of social distancing and masking should be followed 100 per cent.”
“There is a warning from Florida, which says that the hospitals are full with children, and they don’t have any facilities left. So, we have to look at it in perspective for India where children are not being vaccinated at all. We also have to take this fact into consideration that we may or may not have the luxury of open spaces,” said Dr Trehan.
Reminding about the need for sufficient infrastructure and health facilities for children, Dr Trehan said, “If a high number of children fall sick we don’t have the facilities in India, to actually take care of them. We don’t have, we are gearing up but we’re still a long way away from having good facilities because we don’t have enough doctors who are paediatrics, enough ICUs for children and ventilators, We are preparing and the government is trying to ramp up the availability of all the facilities as fast as possible.”