Man challenges Covaxin trials on children in India as govt goes for costly, untested Pfizer vaccine

A Delhi man has filed a petition in the Delhi High Court against phase 2 and 3 trials of indigenously made Covaxin on children in the 2-18 age group amidst reports that India, which is facing an acute shortage of the Wuhan virus vaccine, is importing 50 million doses of unproven Pfizer vaccine that has also not been tested in India.

The petitioner, one Sanjeev Kumar, has raised an apprehension that the children who would be part of the trial could suffer adverse health or mental effects due to the testing of the vaccine on them.
According to him,the children who would be part of the trial could suffer adverse health or mental effects due to the testing of the vaccine on them.
Conducting the trial on healthy children would amount to “homicide”, the petition has claimed and has sought criminal prosecution of the persons involved in such trials or those authorised to conduct the same, in the event of death or “loss of peaceful and pleasant enjoyment of life” of any of the toddlers or minors who are part of the trial.
Kumar claims that the children, who would be the test subjects, cannot be termed as volunteers as they are not capable of understanding the consequences of the trial for consenting to the same.
In his application, filed in May, Sanjeev Kumar has sought the setting aside of the permission granted by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) to Bharat Biotech for conducting trials of its vaccine on children.
The petitioner has claimed in his application that while the issue was pending before the high court with notices issued to the centre and Bharat Biotech, trials of the vaccine have commenced from June.
According to him, since the court did not grant stay when it heard the matter, the government was going ahead with the trials. The government and the company are going ahead with the trials despite the fact that the court has set 15 July as the next date for hearing of the petition, which would make the plea challenging the permission granted by DCGI infructuous.
Covaxin, developed indigenously by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), is already been used on adults in India’s ongoing Corona vaccination drive.