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Covid-19: Vaccination of children aged between 15 and 18 begins today

Amid concerns over the new, highly transmissible Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, India is all set to begin vaccinating the 15 to 18-year-old age group against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) from today. It is, however, to be noted that only Bharat Biotech’s indigenously-made shot ‘Covaxin’ will be used for vaccinating this age bracket. According to a note sent by the Union health ministry to all states and Union territories, additional doses of Covaxin will be sent to the states for administering the vaccine to this population category.

The government’s decision to begin the vaccination drive in this regard was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Christmas Day last December. It was said that while vaccination for the age bracket of 15-18 will begin from January 3, 2022, the administration of a precautionary third dose (booster shot) for vulnerable categories of people will begin from January 10.

Who are potential beneficiaries of the vaccination drive?

According to an official release by the Union health ministry, those people with the birth year of 2007 or before will be eligible for vaccination under the category of 15 to 18 year-olds.

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States have been asked to ensure there are separate queues and vaccination teams for the 15-18 age group to avoid confusion with the vaccination process of all adults.

Potential beneficiaries began registering themselves on the Co-WIN portal from January 1; however, there is also the option of walk-in registration (albeit limited) at multiple vaccination centers when the immunisation drive begins today.

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Where to get vaccinated?

While most existing vaccination centers shall have separate queues beginning today, states have also been informed that they have the option to dedicate a few Covid Vaccination Centres (CVCs) as ‘dedicated CVC’ exclusively for the 15-18-year-olds. The same shall also reflect on the Co-WIN app to ensure that there is no confusion in administering the vaccines to the different age groups.

The states have also been advised to ensure the orientation of vaccinators and vaccination team members for the immunisation of 15-18 year-olds and the identification of dedicated session sites for the same. The states were further exhorted to undertake proper planning in advance for the distribution of Covaxin to identified session sites.

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