Narendra Modi

Vaccine for 15-18 age group, booster shots for those above 60: PM Modi

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Important dates

  • January 3: Start of vaccination for those in 15-18 age group
  • January 10: Booster for health and frontline workers and those above 60

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Saturday, said vaccination against COVID-19 for those in the 15-18 age group will start in the country from January 3. In an address to the nation on Christmas day, the PM said “precaution dose” for healthcare and frontline workers would be given from January 10.

The PM’s address came amid an increase in the number of Omicron variant of the virus. He said the precaution dose would also be available for citizens above 60 years of age from January 10. Such doses would be given to those with comorbidities, too, on the advice of their doctors, PM Modi said.

The PM used the term “precaution dose” and did not say “booster dose” as it has been generally referred to. The PM Modi said global experience showed that following all preventive measures at the personal level was a big weapon in the fight against COVID and asked people to be alert. he urged the citizens to take all precautionary measures and to desist from unwanted panic.

He said vaccination was also an important weapon in the pandemic scenario. “This is the time to be careful, while engaging in festivities. I would urge all of you not to panic, be careful and alert. Remember to mask up and keep washing hands,” PM Modi said.

The administration of nasal vaccine would soon start in India as well, he said.

The PM said the decision to start vaccinating children had been taken after “consultations with health experts.”

Earlier in the day, The Federal had reported that multi-disciplinary central teams would be deployed in 10 states in the wake of an increase in COVID-19 and Omicron cases. India had 415 Omicron cases as on December 25.

On the vaccination status, the PM said over 141 crore doses had been administered. “More than 141 crore doses have been administered. More than 90% eligible population has been vaccinated with the first dose…,”he said.

Modi said vaccination for children will reduce the worries of children going to schools and colleges and their parents. The move would aid in the normalisation of teaching in schools. “We all have experienced that the corona warriors, healthcare and frontline workers made a huge contribution in keeping the country safe in this fight. They still spend a lot of his time in the service of coronavirus patients,” he said.

“Therefore, from the point of view of precaution, the government has decided that ‘precaution dose’ of vaccine will be administered to healthcare and frontline workers from January 10, Monday,” Modi said.

Situation overview

Giving an overview of healthcare infrastructure in the nation, Modi said, “the virus is mutating but our confidence to take on challenges is also multiplying. Our innovative spirit is also growing. The country today has 18 lakh isolation beds, 5 lakh oxygen supported beds, 1,40,000 ICU beds. If ICU and non-ICU beds are taken together, there are about 90,000 beds for children. Today the country has over 3,000 PSA oxygen plants functioning and four lakh oxygen cylinders have been provided across the country,” he said. [PSA is pressure swing adsorption].

“States are being helped to prepare a buffer dose of necessary medicines. They are also being provided with adequate testing kits,” he said. The eleven-month vaccine campaign, the PM said, had brought relief and normalcy in the everyday lives of the countrymen. Economic activity was getting back to normal, he said adding a word of caution; against rumours, confusion, and fear-mongering.

The PM’s address came on a day officials said the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) granted emergency use authorisation to indigenously-developed Bharat Biotechs Covaxin for children above 12 years, subject to certain conditions. It is the second vaccine to receive the regulators’ nod for use among those below 18 years after Zydus Cadila’s needle-free COVID-19 vaccine ZyCoV-D.

Vaccination stats

India, whose COVID vaccination drive over the past year has been filled with ups and downs, has now reached a coverage of over 139.7 crore doses. In the 24 hours till December 23 alone, 70,17,671 doses were administered, said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). The nearly 140 crore shots were administered via 1.47 crore inoculation sessions.

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