Friday, December 1, 2023

Covid-19’s third wave knocks India’s door: Are we prepared to protect children?

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As India witnesses an exponential surge in Covid-19 cases, in what can be seen as a surge driven by the Omicron variant, one lakh, seventeen thousand and one hundred cases have been reported in the last 24 hours. Out of these 1.5L cases, three thousand cases have been confirmed as the cases of the Omicron variant. Identified as the ‘variant of concern’ by the WHO, Omicron has been detected across 27 states/UTs so far, of which Maharastra and Delhi top the charts with the highest number of Omicron cases.

The World Health Organization on Friday busted the belief that the Omicron variant is mild, saying it is killing people across the world. Recent studies suggest that Omicron is less likely to make people seriously ill than previous Covid variants. However, according to the WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the record number of people catching it has left health systems under severe pressure.

Even as states ramp up its efforts in fight against Covid-19, the focus is primarily on children between the age group of 2-18 years, majority of those who have not been vaccinated yet. Dr Suresh Kumar, MD of Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital (LNJP) told a news agency, “The increase in COVID-19 cases in winter is a matter of concern for children, the elderly, pregnant women and co-morbid patients with cancer, COPD or respiratory failure.”

Over 1.5 crore children between the age group of 15-18 have been vaccinated with Covaxin so far. In a bid to secure the children, India extended its vaccine drive to young adults in the age group of 15-18 on January 3. So far, only Covaxin has been approved as a children’s vaccine in India.

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