Vaccination for children aged 15-18 begins amid COVID-19 surge
Vaccination against the deadly coronavirus for children aged between 15 and 18 years starts from Monday amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in several states. More than eight lakh teenagers in that age group have registered on the government's Co-WIN portal to get the jab. They all will be administered the Indian-made COVAXIN, which was cleared for children in December 2021.
Why does it matter?
- Vaccination for children marks a significant step in India's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The decision was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an address to the nation and online registration for children had begun from January 1.
- The developments come amid a significant surge in coronavirus cases across many Indian states and the spread of the new Omicron variant.
Nearly 8.8 lakh teenagers registered for COVID-19 jab
The vaccination drive for children will be carried out at hospitals and health centers. Many schools and other educational institutions will also be used to inoculate teens. Additional doses of COVAXIN will be sent to all states and union territories for the drive, the Centre said. As of 11:00 am on Monday, over 12,50,000 children in the said age group had registered on Co-WIN.
How can children book their slots?
Children can book their vaccination slots either by using their parents' existing Co-WIN accounts or by creating a new account with a unique mobile number. They can register on-site as well through the person administering the vaccine.
COVID-19 situation in India
India recorded 33,750 COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, marking a 22% jump from Sunday's count of 27,553. At least 123 people died due to the disease during the same period. Meanwhile, India's tally of infections involving Omicron has reached 1,700. The highly infectious strain has spread to 23 states with Maharashtra being the worst hit (510 cases), followed by Delhi (351).
India's vaccination drive
More than 145.7 crore vaccine doses have been administered across India so far. Besides vaccination for children, the government has also announced booster shots for healthcare workers, frontline staffers, and senior citizens with comorbidities. That program will commence on January 10.