Saturday, December 9, 2023

Securing the young: Odissa, Himachal Pradesh gear up for vaccinating children

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Dr. RS Sharma, CoWIN platform Chief, announced on Monday that children aged 15-18 years would be allowed to register on the CoWIN app starting January 1st, 2022, after the Centre’s announcement of vaccines for children aged 15-18 years beginning January 3rd, 2022. According to PTI, Covaxin has been approved for emergency use in youngsters and will be the sole vaccination given to those aged 15 to 18.

According to Sharma, the registration process for Covid-19 immunisation would need the children to submit student id cards’ on the CoWIN portal. “We’ve introduced a tenth ID card for registration – the student ID card – since some people may not have Aadhaar or other forms of identification,” he explained. Beneficiaries can also be enrolled onsite by the verifier/vaccinator in assisted registration mode, according to the guidelines.

Meanwhile, according to the WHO, governments should only vaccinate children after achieving high vaccination coverage with two doses in higher priority-use groups. Children who live in a region with high Covid-19 transmission should avoid crowded locations and maintain social distance, as well as wash their hands often and wear a mask.

While many parents have exhaled a sigh of relief, others have raised worry. The controversy over whether or not to vaccinate children against COVID-19 has raged across the world, not just in India. In a recent video, Dr. Robert Malone, a US virologist and immunologist, says that COVID vaccinations may not be safe for children, causing widespread alarm.

In a latest development, in Chandigarh, around 76,000 youngsters aged 15 to 18 are eligible for the Covid vaccination. According to UT Health Secretary Yashpal Garg, the UT will begin providing Covaxin to eligible youngsters on January 3. He stated that the locations where children would receive the Covid vaccination will be finalised soon.

In a similar move, following the discovery of the state’s first case of Omicron recently, Himachal Pradesh has established an anti-Covid vaccine programme for children aged 15 to 18. According to Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, vaccinations for children would begin on January 3 in all districts simultaneously, as decided by the Covid-19 Working Group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI). According to current information, around four lakh infants born in 2007 or before will be eligible to get the vaccine.

Similarly, Odissa’s Health and Family Welfare Director, Bijah Panigrahi, stated that if all children are vaccinated at the appropriate period, they would be immunized within a month. The vaccination center will be open in the morning for children aged 15 to 18, with the rest of the population receiving vaccinations in the afternoon.

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