New Delhi: Registration for vaccination of children against COVID-19 in the 15-18 age group began in Delhi on Saturday, as centres here have geared up to start inoculating the younger population 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.
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya took to Twitter to request people to register eligible children in their families.
”On the occasion of New Year, registration is being started on CoWIN portal for immunisation of children against COVID-19 in the age group of 15 to 18 years from today. I request the family members to register the eligible children for vaccination,” Mandaviya tweeted using the hashtag ‘SabkoVaccineMuftVaccine’.
From stocking up doses to keeping pediatricians on standby, inoculation centres in Delhi have geared up for starting vaccination for the younger population.
The vaccine option for those in the 15-18 age group would only be Covaxin, according to the ”Guidelines for Covid-19 vaccination of children between 15-18 years and precaution dose to HCWs, FLWs and 60+ population with comorbidities” issued by the Union health ministry.
Balance vaccine shots at the disposal of the Delhi government as on December 29 morning, stood at 21.53 lakh doses, according to official documents.
Authorities at various hospitals in Delhi, which are among the facilities which have hosted 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 institutions have been used as Covid vaccination centres, and arrangements were being made there as well.
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.
Private hospitals too have geared up for this phase of the exercise, which will take place amid a massive spike in case of Covid and an Omicron scare.
”CoWIN registration for this category has commenced. We are all set,” said Dr Bishnu Panigrahi, Group Head, Medical Strategy and Operations, Fortis Healthcare group.
Delhi on Friday recorded 1,796 fresh Covid cases, the highest single-day rise since May 22, and zero death while the positivity rate mounted to 2.44 per cent, according to data shared by the city health department.
On Thursday, 1,313 cases were recorded with a positivity rate of 1.73 per cent, as per officials figures. The daily cases count had breached the 1000-mark after a gap of seven months.
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain had on Thursday 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 a 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 mask, and get vaccinated at the earliest, if eligible,” Panigrahi said.
Fortis units at Vasant Kunj, Shalimar Bagh, and Okhla, will be the vaccination centers of the healthcare group, he said.
”Depending on the footfall, we can step up the logistics. Also, a team of pediatricians will be on standby in case there is 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, over 2.64 crore doses have been administered in Delhi till evening on Saturday, including 1.52 crore first doses, and 1.11 crore second doses. For precaution doses (third dose of vaccine), there are about three lakh people who are eligible as per January 10, 2022 reference point, according to official documents.