Registration starts for Covid vaccination for teens aged 15-18

By PTI

NEW DELHI: From stocking up doses to keeping paediatricians on standby, inoculation centres in Delhi are gearing up ahead of the starting of Covid vaccination for teens in the age group of 15-18 from January 3.

According to official documents shared by sources, the cohort size for vaccination in this category is 10 lakh as per the Registrar General of India’s figures.

Authorities at LNJP Hospital and other facilities in Delhi, which are among the largest state-run vaccination centres since the start of the exercise on January 16, said infrastructure set up is ready to administer Covid vaccine shots to children, after having catered to the adult population, including healthcare workers and frontline staff, who were given priority to be the first in line to receive jabs.

A large number of schools and other educational are also been used as Covid vaccination centres, and arrangements were being made there as well.

Teens aged between 15 and 18 years would be able to register on the CoWIN portal from January 1 and the vaccine option for them would only be Covaxin, officials said on Monday as preparations are underway to start inoculating children against COVID-19 from January 3.

The vaccine option for those in the 15-18 age group has been stated under the “Guidelines for Covid-19 vaccination of children between 15-18 years and precaution dose to HCWs, FLWs and 60+ population with comorbidities”, which was issued by the Union health ministry on Monday.

According to the guidelines, which will come into effect from January 3, those aged 15 and above will be able to register on CoWIN.

In other words, “all those whose birth year is 2007” or before, shall be eligible.

Balance vaccine shots at disposal of the Delhi government as on December 29 morning, stood at 21.53 lakh doses, according to the official documents.

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Private hospitals too have geared up for this phase of the exercise, which will take place amid a massive spike in cases of Covid and an Omicron scare.

Delhi on Thursday recorded 1,313 fresh Covid cases, the highest single-day spike since May 26, with a mounting positivity rate of 1.73 per cent, as Health Minister Satyendar Jain cautioned that the latest variant of the coronavirus is gradually spreading in the community.

Doctors urged parents to bring their children for vaccination as soon as possible, to lend them protection amid fear of a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Omicron variant of the virus is infecting people and it’s spreading, but those who are vaccinated are largely asymptomatic, and essentially the unvaccinated ones are needing hospitalisation more. So, would appeal to people to wear masks, and get vaccinated at the earliest, if eligible,” said Dr Bishnu Panigrahi, Group Head, Medical Strategy & Operations, Fortis Healthcare group.

Asked about the preparation for the vaccination exercise for children starting January 3, he said, “we are all set”.

Fortis units at Vasant Kunj, Shalimar Bagh and Okhla, will be the vaccination centres of the healthcare group, he said. “Depending on the footfall, we can step up the logistics. Also, a team of paediatricians will be on standby in case there are any adverse events reported in a beneficiary,” he said.

“We had formed a core expert group last year to tackle the pandemic, and around mid-2021 we made a sub-group, paediatric core expert group to assess the situation and suggest ways to handle a crisis,” the doctor said.

A spokesperson of Max healthcare group said Max hospital, Saket and a few other units will be part of the vaccination exercise for the children group.

“Paediatricians will be on standby when the vaccination begins for this group,” she said.

According to CoWIN portal, 2.63 crore doses have been administered in Delhi to date, including 1.52 crore first doses, and 1.11 crore second doses.

For precaution doses (third dose), there are about three lakh people who are eligible as per the January 10, 2022 reference point, according to theofficial documents.