Friday, December 1, 2023

Covid-19 vaccination of children aged 15-18 years to begin from today

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Covid-19 vaccination drive for beneficiaries in the age bracket of 15-18 years is scheduled to begin from Monday across the country. As announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 25, 2021, the vaccination for the age-group 15-18 years is scheduled to begin from January 3, 2022, while administration of precautionary third dose for the vulnerable categories is to commence from January 10, 2022. In the context of the vaccination of the age group 15-18 years, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan had informed the States, Union Territories that only ‘Covaxin’ is to be administered in this population category and additional doses of ‘Covaxin’ will be sent to all States and UTs.

Potential beneficiaries began registering themselves on the Co-WIN portal from January 1, 2022, or they can also avail of a walk-in registration when vaccination commences from today. Those with the birth year of 2007 or before will be eligible for vaccination under this category, the official release by the Health Ministry said.

All established protocols regarding vaccination are to be followed for the 15-18 years age group; beneficiaries are to wait for half-an-hour when they will be monitored for the adverse event following immunization (AEFI) and will be eligible for the second dose only after 28 days.

States were informed that they have the option to designate some Covid Vaccination Centres (CVCs) as dedicated CVC for the 15-18 age group exclusively which can also be reflected on Co-WIN. Dedicated CVCs would ensure that there is no confusion in administering the vaccines.

The States were requested to ensure separate queues for the 15-18 age group and separate vaccination teams. States were advised to form two separate vaccination teams at the same CVC, one for 15-18 age groups and the other for all adults to avoid confusion in the administration of the right vaccines.

With regards to the administration of the precautionary dose, the Union Health Secretary highlighted that nine months (39 weeks) must have elapsed since the administration of the second dose to make the beneficiary eligible. Drawing attention to misinformation being propagated through various media regarding the requirement of a doctor’s certificate to establish co-morbidity at the CVC, he categorically emphasized that the Union Government has not issued any directions on the said matter and prescriptions/certificates are not mandated to be produced at the CVC for the administration of the precaution dose. He also informed that Co-WIN will send reminder messages to all those eligible for Precaution dose and Precaution dose will be reflected in the digital vaccination certificates.

States/UTs were further advised to ensure the orientation of vaccinators and vaccination team members for vaccination of 15-18 years age-group and the identification of dedicated session sites for vaccination of 15-18 years age-group. States were exhorted to undertake proper planning in advance for the distribution of Covaxin to identified session sites.

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