India, which is experiencing a severe Omicron surge, leading to a rise in COVID-19 cases, is all set to vaccinate its population in the 15-18 year age group from Monday.
According to government data, so far 8 lakh teenagers have registered themselves on the CoWin app and portal for the drive. They will be given a shot of Bharat Biotech-produced indigenous vaccine Covaxin.
The health ministry has assured states and Union territories that it will send additional doses of the vaccine to cater to the population in the particular age group.
The vaccination drive is being carried out both in hospitals and health centres as well as in educational institutions including schools.
As per the government, only those born in 2007 and before will be eligible for the vaccine.
The Centre has told states to ensure that there are separate queues for the particular age group to avoid confusion at vaccination centres where people of other age groups are also being inoculated. States could also dedicate a few COVID Vaccination Centres (CVCs) as ‘dedicated CVC’ for the 15-18 age group, the health ministry has said.
The vaccination for the 15-18 age group was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Christmas Day. The same day, the prime minister also announced that the administration of ‘precautionary’ doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for healthcare and frontline workers and people above 60 with co-morbidities will begin January 10.
The government’s decision comes amid a severe surge of the Omicron variant across countries. While the variant has already replaced Delta as the dominant strain in Europe, its cases have breached the 1,000-mark in India, presumably leading to a sudden spurt in infections in metropolitan cities, goading state governments to up their guard and impose strict curbs.
So far, 1,525 cases of the variant have been reported in India, whose COVID-19 tally stands at 3,48,89,132 cases.
While the Centre plans to roll out booster doses soon, Corbevax and Covovax, two new vaccines that have been cleared by the drug regulator, may be used for the purpose, reports say.