Amid rising COVID-19 cases, nationwide vaccination of children aged 15-18 years begins from today


New Delhi: Amid growing fears of a possible third COVID-19 wave, a nationwide vaccination drive for beneficiaries in the age bracket of 15-18 years is scheduled to begin from Monday (January 3, 2022). Till 7.50 pm on Sunday, over 6.35 lakh children in the age group of 15 to 18 years had registered themselves on the CoWIN platform. Beneficiaries in this age group can get themselves registered onsite.

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya 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 the mixing-up of vaccines.

As announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 25, 2021, while the vaccination for the age-group 15-18 years will begin from January 3, 2022, the administration of precautionary third dose for the vulnerable categories is to commence from January 10, 2022.

Only ‘Covaxin’ is to be administered to the age group 15-18 years

In the context of the vaccination of the age group 15-18 years, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan had informed the States, Union Territories that only ‘Covaxin’ is to be administered in this population category and additional doses of `Covaxin` will be sent to all States and UTs.

Beneficiaries can register themselves on Co-WIN

Potential beneficiaries began registering themselves on the Co-WIN portal from January 1, 2022, or they can also avail of a walk-in registration when vaccination commences from today.

Who are eligible for vaccination?

Those with the birth year of 2007 or before will be eligible for vaccination under this category, the official release by the Health Ministry said.

All established protocols regarding vaccination are to be followed for the 15-18 years age group; beneficiaries are to wait for half-an-hour when they will be monitored for the adverse event following immunization (AEFI) and will be eligible for the second dose only after 28 days.

Center issues advisory to states/UTs

States were informed that they have the option to designate some COVID Vaccination Centers (CVCs) as dedicated CVC for the 15-18 age group exclusively which can also be reflected on Co-WIN.

Dedicated CVCs would ensure that there is no confusion in administering the vaccines. The States were requested to ensure separate queues for the 15-18 age group and separate vaccination teams. States were advised to form two separate vaccination teams at the same CVC, one for 15-18 age groups and the other for all adults to avoid confusion in the administration of the right vaccines.

With regards to the administration of the precautionary dose, the Union Health Secretary highlighted that nine months (39 weeks) must have elapsed since the administration of the second dose to make the beneficiary eligible.

Drawing attention to misinformation being propagated through various media regarding the requirement of a doctor`s certificate to establish co-morbidity at the CVC, he categorically focused that the Union Government has not issued any directions on the said matter and prescriptions/certificates are not mandated to be produced at the CVC for the administration of the precaution dose.

He also informed that Co-WIN will send reminder messages to all those eligible for Precaution dose and Precaution dose will be reflected in the digital vaccination certificates. States/UTs were further advised to ensure the orientation of vaccinators and vaccination team members for vaccination of 15-18 years age-group and the identification of dedicated session sites for vaccination of 15-18 years age-group.

States were exhorted to undertake proper planning in advance for the distribution of Covaxin to identified session sites.

(With Agency Inputs)

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