New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: India on Monday extended the vaccination drive to include the teenagers in 15 to 18 age group as daily COVID-19 cases surged across India by going above 33,000 on Monday. Over 40 lakh teenagers were jabbed with their first dose of vaccine against COVID-19 on day 1, Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya informed on Monday.

"Well done Young India! Over 40 lakhs between 15-18 age group received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on the 1st day of vaccination drive for children, till 8 PM. This is another feather in the cap of India's vaccination drive," the Health Minister tweeted.

Those born in 2007 and before are eligible for the vaccine. However, only Bharat Biotech’s COVAXIN can be jabbed in children aged 15-18 as per government guidelines.

Chief Ministers of several states launched the vaccination drive for children in their respective states.
Earlier on last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that Covid-19 vaccination for children between 15-18 years of age will be rolled out from January 3. According to official estimates, there are approximately 10 Crore teenagers in this age group.

According to the guidelines put in place by the government, children, aged 15-18 can self-register online through an existing account on CoWIN platform or can also register by creating a new account through a unique mobile number or using their parent's accounts. Children can also get registered onsite by verifier or vaccinator; and they can walk in to take their shots.

On December 24, the Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI) had granted emergency use authorisation to the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s COVAXIN for children above 12 years of age.

Most schools and other educational institutions are being used as inoculation centres as well.

"With the launch of vaccinations for children between 15-18 years, we have made a beginning in protecting our future and the future of the country. This is an age group that needs to be protected against COVID-19 and vaccination will help in mitigating the severity and preventing complications of Covid in children," said Prathap C Reddy, Chairman of Apollo Hospitals Group.

"We have a capacity of administering vaccine doses to 200 children in a single day, but today it was the first day. So as a precaution we inoculated doses to just 50 children today," Dr Sameer Bhati, in charge of vaccination centre at Tilak Nagar told ANI.

"Initially due to Omicron fear, fewer children turned up for vaccination but later when they witnessed no risk, then they came forward, " he added.

To avoid mixing-up of Covid vaccines for children and adults during administration, Mandaviya has also advised states and Union territories to make separate Covid vaccination centres (CVCs), separate session sites, separate queue (if adult vaccination is going on at the same centre) and separate immunisation team (if at same session site) for adults and children.

With inputs from agencies

Posted By: Mukul Sharma