- India will start vaccinating children between the ages of 15 to 18 from January 3 next year.
- The announcement comes amid a steady rise in the cases of the highly contagious Omicron variant of Covid-19.
- Healthcare and frontline workers will be provided with “precautionary doses” from January 10 next year.
In a surprise address to the nation on Christmas night, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that Covid-19 vaccination will start January 3 onward for children in the 15-18 age group, while healthcare and frontline workers will be administered “precaution dose” from January 10. The announcement comes amid a steady rise in the cases of the highly contagious Omicron variant of Covid-19. For those above 60 years with comorbidities, precaution doses will also be given from 10 January.
Talking about India’s preparedness, he added: “Today, the nation has 18 lakh isolation beds, 5 lakh oxygen supported beds, 1.4 lakh ICU beds, and 90,000 special beds for kids. Today, we have over 3,000 functional PSA Oxygen plants and 4 lakh cylinders have been provided to all states”. PM Modi assured citizens that all possible preparations are in order to tackle increasing infections. He listed the number of hospital beds, oxygen beds available, and vaccination progress.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said:
“Today is also the birth anniversary of Atalji (former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee). We are also celebrating Christmas. So I thought I should share this decision today. Covid-19 vaccination will introduce for all children in the age group 15-18 years. From January 3, 2022, we will start this drive. This decision will further strengthen our fight against the pandemic. Parents have been worrying about children returning to schools and colleges. This decision will help reduce their stress.”
The following is a list of some countries that are already vaccinating children:
- Children in the US aged 5 to 11 were recommended for Covid-19 vaccines on November 2.
- Canada authorized Pfizer’s shot for children aged five to 11 on November 19.
- Hungary started vaccinating 16- to 18-year-olds in mid-May.
- Britain’s vaccine committee has recommended 12 to 15-year-olds be offered a second dose.
- Switzerland approved vaccinating 12- to 15-year-olds with Pfizer’s shot in June and did the same for Moderna’s jab two months later.
- Bahrain has approved the Sinopharm vaccine for children aged 3-11.
- Israel, Oman, and Saudi Arabia have approved Pfizer’s shot for children as young as five, a shot Bahrain and the UAE have also approved for emergency use in the same age group.
- Jordan, Morocco, Guinea, Namibia, and South Africa are vaccinating children aged 12 and over.
- Zimbabwe has made 14-year-olds eligible for Covid-19 shots.
- Egypt said in early November it would begin vaccinating children aged 15-18 using Pfizer.
- China has approved two Sinopharm and one Sinovac vaccine for children as young as three.
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