Vaccine for children, booster for frontline staff, 60+

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Prime Minister says that 61% of the adult population have been fully vaccinated and 90% of them has received the first dose, reports Asian Lite News

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Saturday that Covid vaccination for the 15-18 age group will commence from January 3, 2022, while healthcare/frontline workers, along with the 60+ population with comorbidities, will get a precautionary dose from January 10 onwards next year.

“The decision to vaccinate children will not only strengthen our fight against Covid-19, rather it would also reduce the worries of the parents whose children are going to schools,” the Prime Minister said in his televised address to the nation.

The country is currently staring at a possible third wave of Covid-19 amid growing concerns over the spread of the new strain — Omicron.

As the elderly and people with comorbidities are more vulnerable to catch serious illness from the Omicron strain, Modi also announced a precautionary dose for them.

“Those with comorbidities and above 60 years of age will be eligible for a precautionary dose from January 10, 2022 onwards on the recommendation of their doctors,” Modi said.

In his message to the nation, the Prime Minister also urged people not to panic amid growing concerns over the Omicron variant, and appealed to everyone to stay alert, wash hands and make full use of masks.

Notably, the Hyderabad-based vaccine manufacturer Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin on Saturday got approval from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for emergency use for the 12-18 age group.

The vaccine manufacturer had submitted data from clinical trials in the 12-18 age group for Covaxin (BBV152) to the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO). Bharat Biotech had said earlier that the data was reviewed by the CDSCO and the Subject Experts Committee (SEC), which provided their positive recommendations.

Doctors welcome move

“It is a welcome decision. The next plan should be to vaccinate children above 5 years old. Paediatricians should be allowed to vaccinate these children in their clinics,” Dr Dhiren Gupta, a paediatric pulmonologist at Delhi’s Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, said.

“Not only we should target 13 years plus children, but also we should target 5 years old also. That should be our next plan. All paediatricians should be allowed to vaccinate these children in their clinics if we want to expedite the vaccination process,” he added.

Gupta said most of the children from this age group visit paediatric clinics and the process of vaccination can be expedited “rather than limiting it to a few vaccination centres.”

Dr Gupta also said the “precaution dose” of the Covid-19 vaccine to healthcare and frontline workers should be given earlier than announced by PM Modi.

“But why wait till January 10. Every day is important in a pandemic. We know that Omicron is increasing at a fast pace. We will get variations of this virus. A booster dose takes approximately three weeks to make sufficient antibodies. The booster vaccination should start within two or three days. Looking at the entire population, we should start it as soon as possible”.

Covaxin gets nod

Meanwhile, amid growing concern over the new Covid variant Omicron, Hyderabad-based vaccine manufacturer Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin on Saturday got approval from the Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) for emergency use for children aged between 12-18 years.

The vaccine manufacturer had submitted data from clinical trials in the 12-18 years age group for COVAXIN (BBV152) to Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).

Bharat Biotech had said earlier that the data was reviewed by the CDSCO and Subject Experts Committee (SEC) and has provided their positive recommendations.

Covaxin

This makes Covaxin the second vaccine cleared for use for children in India. Earlier, Zydus Cadila’s three-dose DNA vaccine was allowed to be used on adults and children over the age of 12.

Meanwhile, the Omicron infection tally has climbed to 415 across the nation. However, out of total Omicron positive cases, 115 have been discharged. So far, a total of 17 states have reported the Omicron infection, the Union Health Ministry said on Saturday.

Also, India on Saturday registered 7,189 fresh Covid cases in a span of 24 hours. A total of 387 deaths have also been reported in the same time, said the Union ministry of health and family welfare on Friday.

With the addition of 358 new deaths, the total death toll has climbed to 4,79,520.

With the administration of 66,09,113 vaccine doses in the last 24 hours, India’s Covid-19 vaccination coverage has exceeded 141 crore as per provisional reports till 7 a.m. on Saturday.

Delhi reports highest single-day Covid tally

Delhi on Saturday reported 249 fresh Covid-19 cases, the highest since June 13, with a positivity rate of 4.46 per cent, taking its overall tally to 14,43,062, data issued by the health department showed.

According to the official data, this rise is the highest since June 13 when the national capital had reported 255 cases with a positivity rate of 0.35 per cent.

Meanwhile, one patient succumbed to the dreaded virus on Saturday, pushing Delhi’s cumulative death toll to 25,104 with a fatality rate of 1.74 per cent.

On the vaccination front, 1,14,311 beneficiaries were inoculated against the virus on Saturday, taking the cumulative figure to 2,54,48,583.

As many as 52,444 tests were conducted in the past 24 hours.

With 148.33 lakh beneficiaries, Delhi completed administering the first dose of the vaccine to its 100 per cent population, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said on Friday evening.

“Delhi completes first dose to 100% eligible people – 148.33 lakh, salute to doctors, ANMs, teachers, ASHAs, CDVs and all other frontline workers. Congratulations to DMs, CDMOs, DIOs and all district functionaries,” he had tweeted.

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