New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: With an aim to inoculate as much population against the COVID-19, the Centre had started vaccinating children in the age group of 15-18 years from January 3 this year. Now as the COVID-19 vaccination drive for children aged 15 to 18 is gathering pace, the government is expected to issue an advisory soon to reopen schools across the country.

According to a report by ANI, quoting sources, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya has asked the National Expert Group to suggest ways and work on modalities to open schools nationwide. Schools have been closed in the country since March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began to wreak havoc in the country. The schools were reopened briefly last year but were again shut following the devastating second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"COVID-19 has affected children of all age groups. However, the mortality rate and severity of disease in children are negligible. Health experts believe that it is high time children return to schools," ANI quoted sources as saying.

Ever since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools have remained by and large shut. Some states did open schools partially on an on and off basis but widespread apprehensions and reservations continue to remain. "However, it will be up to states to decide whether they are ready to open schools or not," a source told ANI.

Top sources have also told ANI that the Centre wants to reopen schools in a staggered manner and under strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols. The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16, 2021 and vaccination of all eligible populations above 18 years of age started from May 1, 2021. The next phase of COVID-19 vaccination commenced from January 3 for adolescents in the age group of 15-18 years.

On Thursday, the Union Health Ministry said that in a landmark achievement, 95 per cent of the eligible population has been administered with the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in the country. India's COVID-19 vaccination coverage has crossed 164.35 crore (1,64,35,41,869) mark on Thursday evening.

Moreover, more than one crore (1,03,04,847) Precaution Doses for the identified categories of beneficiaries for COVID vaccination have been administered so far, the ministry said yesterday evening.


(With ANI Inputs)

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan