Pediatric healthcare and third COVID-19 wave

New Delhi: Experts warn of the third wave of Covid-19 hitting India as early as September, with many fearing it could disproportionately affect children. According to Rekha Mittal, neurologist at Rainbow Hospitals, children would be a sensitive population by comparison, as many adults would have had the disease or the Covid vaccine.

“Third wave and more waves can always occur in a pandemic until it burns out or there is herd immunity. So far, our experience has shown that the majority of children who have had a Covid infection were either asymptomatic or had mild symptoms. Therefore, we hope that the next wave will not pose a serious threat to children,” Mittal told IANSlife.

“The treatment of children who develop severe manifestations of Covid requires specialists trained in pediatric intensive care, and the appropriate equipment and support staff. We definitely need to plan and be prepared for a crisis situation if it arises. We should not be complacent.”

How can an increase in the number of cases be prevented? The expert suggests not to slacken our vigilance, by enforcing Covid-appropriate behavior such as social distancing, use of masks and hand sanitization measures. “We should avoid crowded places such as shopping malls, markets, gatherings, etc. Also, the children will be indirectly protected if the adults around them receive the Covid vaccine.”

Rainbow Hospitals successfully administered the miracle drug Zolgensma, which is also the world’s most expensive at Rs 16 crore per injection, this month to a three-year-old boy from Hyderabad this month. The medical miracle Zolgensma is a single-dose intravenous injection used in gene therapy to replace the defective SMN1 gene with an adenoviral vector.

When asked how important it can be to administer such an expensive injection skillfully, Mittal says: “Administering such an expensive and underused drug can be challenging. One must have full knowledge of how to obtain, handle and administering the medication, and one should have all the facilities to deal with the side effects if they occur, such as liver damage, decrease in platelet count, etc.”

Speaking of childhood vaccination, the doctor said vaccinations for vaccine-preventable diseases should go ahead on schedule for children.

“The Rainbow Hospital provides a safe place where children can be brought for vaccinations. Trials for Covid vaccination in children over 2 years old have started in India. Once the Covid vaccine is approved and available to children, Rainbow hospitals will be ready to deliver the same to as many children as possible.”

(IANS)

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