Vaccination for teens starts today, 6.8 lakh register | India News

NEW DELHI: Over 6.79 lakh children between 15-18 were registered on the Co-Win platform till 9 pm Sunday to receive Covid vaccination that will begin for this cohort from Monday. These children will be due to be administered Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin in two doses with a gap of 28 days.
The Centre has advised states and Union Territories to provide separate vaccination centres, session sites, queue and different vaccination teams for the 15-18 year age group to avoid any inadvertent mixing of vaccines.
While online registration for children vaccination opened from January 1, over 3.23 lakh youngsters between 15-18 enrolled on the first day itself. Children can also walk in and do onsite registration at the designated vaccination centres from Monday onwards.
When government opened Covid vaccination for all adults above 18, nearly 2.28 crore registrations were recorded in the first two days (April 28 and 29). While the numbers of children between 15-18 years registered so far are low in comparison to adults, the size of cohorts also vary for the two categories.
There are an estimated 7.40 crore children in the 15-18 age group eligible for the vaccination, according to health ministry’s estimates. On the other hand, there were around 94 crore adults above 18 at the time the shots were provided for them with around 55 crore population between 18 and 45 years age.
Besides, in case of youngsters, the decision makers are mostly parents – many of whom are still apprehensive about vaccinating children, an official said.
“Parents are usually over cautious, we have found. Initially, we do not expect the numbers to be very high. It will pick up gradually with subsiding hesitancy. Similar trends have been noticed in other countries too,” the official said.
The government’s decision to start Covid immunisation in children between 15-18 years is based on scientific assessment of local as well as global data that shows 75% of the Covid-19 deaths in children during last two years have been in the same age group, he said. Also while the disease is not widespread in this age group, the more transmissible Omicron raises fears that kids could be affected and bring the infection home to more vulnerable elders.
Overall, India has administered over 145.7 crore doses of Covid vaccines so far. This includes over 90% of adults getting at least one dose of the jabs, whereas 65% of adults above 18 years age fully vaccinated with two doses.
The government plans to expand vaccination to all age groups in phases. However, since youngsters behave more like adults and their movement and interaction with others are also more, they have been prioritised among children for vaccination.
Vaccination of 15-18 year old is also expected to aid education normalisation in schools.
The Centre has also advised states to ensure the orientation of vaccinators and vaccination team members and the identification of dedicated session sites for this category of beneficiaries.

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