The National Institute of Disaster Management has said that there was no evidence to suggest that the probable third wave of COVID-19 will affect children more than adults, but cautioned that one needs to be alert as children in India remain unvaccinated.
Citing the Indian Academy of Paediatrics and the Lancet COVID-19 Commission's Regional (India) Task Force, the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) said in a report that there is "cause for worry, if not panic" since children in India remain unvaccinated, and existing paediatric healthcare facilities "are not robust enough to treat on a large scale," reports NDTV.
It has been widely reported that the third wave could hit children more as they are the ones who remain unvaccinated as countries rush to vaccinate their citizens. The NIMD report outlines measures children can take to stay safe. These steps include carrying out awareness campaigns and programmes to ensure children in rural areas and from disadvantaged communities are protected.
The NIDM report also warned that the third wave could already be upon us. For this they cite a slowdown in the rate of decline of new cases and an uptick in the 'R' factor, or reproductive rate of the virus.
The NIDM note of caution comes amid schools in several states returning to offline classes. Many states have resumed offline studies for classes 9-12 and more students are likely to return to schools in the coming days.
This coupled with governments opening up public places such as cinema halls, malls, offices and public transport is also making experts wary. The NIDM report adds that future waves, if nay, may be "significantly challenged" by increasing the pace of vaccinations. India plans to vaccinate 34% of its population by month end but going by the current rate of vaccination, the country may fall short of the target.