For the first time since the vaccine became available, children in the 15 to 18 age group are eligible for getting first jabs amid a surge of Covid-19 cases across the globe including India. 8.33 lakh children have been targeted for inoculation during the vaccination drive in the J&K. The eligible teenagers will be administered only Bharat Biotech’s COVAXIN as it is the only vaccine with Emergency Use Listing (EUL) for the 15-18 years age-group and recommended by ‘Covid -19 Working Group’ of the National Technical Advisory Group on immunization. From January 10, people above 60 years, with co-morbidities, and those working in the health care sector or frontline public-facing jobs, such as policemen and firefighters, will be eligible to take their ‘precaution doses” if their primary vaccination was completed nine months ago.
As underlined by the Additional Chief Secretary Health Vivek Bhardwaj, the vaccination drive was surely going to help children to be back in school including in Kashmir and winter zones after the ongoing winter vacations.
Children have been the silent sufferers in this pandemic, forced mostly to stay at home for the last since 5 August 2019. It has adversely affected their learning curve and social interactions.
While the elderly population, health care and frontline workers remain the most at risk, the third dose to them as soon as possible is important.
Lieutenant Governor rightly emphasized that the vaccination is a critical tool to help stop the Covid pandemic. He also made a “humble request” to the young people to get vaccinated. He also rightly emphasized people not to be complacent after getting vaccinated. It’s crucial to continue following COVID protocols and guidelines. The Omicron wave is just building up and booster doses have shown to help even within a week of being administered. The government has set one-lakh per day jab to children and with 8.33lakh to target; it should be over by January 12. However, it is unlikely to be accomplished within the stipulated time frame given the vaccine hesitancy among some. The government needs to create awareness and boast confidence among the people, especially among the parents of the eligible children, to get vaccinated. What has been seen is that the vaccination has surely helped reduce hospitalizations. The message must be amplified. The government needs to cover more people as quickly as possible.