India may begin vaccination for 12-14 year age group from March: Top govt official

Dr NK Arora, chairman of the Covid-19 working group of NTAGI, said, a policy decision may be taken in this regard once the inoculation of those in the 15-18 year category is completed.
A medic administers Covid vaccine to a teen in Ludhiana. (HT Photo)
A medic administers Covid vaccine to a teen in Ludhiana. (HT Photo)
Updated on Jan 17, 2022 04:51 PM IST
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By, New Delhi

Vaccination of children in the age group of 12 to 14 against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) may begin in March once the inoculation of those in the 15-18 year category is completed and a policy decision in this regard may be taken accordingly.

Dr NK Arora, chairman of the Covid-19 working group of NTAGI, said, of the estimated 7.4 crore (7,40,57,000) population in the 15-18 age group, over 3.45 crore have received their first dose of Covaxin so far with the second one due in 28 days.

Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya shared on Twitter earlier in the day that over 3.5 crore children in the 15-18 age group have received their first dose since January 3 when the drive was expanded to include the young adults.

Vaccination of children in the age group of 12 to 14 against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) may begin in March once the inoculation of those in the 15-18 year category is completed and a policy decision in this regard may be taken accordingly.

Dr NK Arora, chairman of the Covid-19 working group of NTAGI, said, of the estimated 7.4 crore (7,40,57,000) population in the 15-18 age group, over 3.45 crore have received their first dose of Covaxin so far with the second one due in 28 days.

Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya shared on Twitter earlier in the day that over 3.5 crore children in the 15-18 age group have received their first dose since January 3 when the drive was expanded to include the young adults.

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"Adolescents in this age group have been actively participating in the inoculation process, and going by this pace of vaccination, the rest of the beneficiaries in the 15-18 age group are likely to be covered with the first dose by January-end and subsequently their second dose is expected to be done by February-end," Dr Arora, the chairman of the Covid working group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

The government is likely to take a policy decision for initiating the vaccination drive for the 12-14 age group in March, he added. According to him, there is an estimated 7.5 crore population in the 12-14 age group.

The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 last year with healthcare workers (HCWs) getting inoculated in the first phase. The vaccination of frontline workers (FLWs) started from February 2, 2021.

The next phase of COVID-19 vaccination commenced from March 1 last year for people over 60 years of age and those aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions.

The country launched vaccination for all people aged more than 45 years from April 1, 2021.

The government then decided to expand its vaccination drive by allowing everyone above 18 to be vaccinated from May 1.

The next phase of COVID-19 vaccination has commenced from January 3 this year for adolescents in the age group of 15-18 years.

India began administering the “precaution dose” -- a third jab of the vaccine -- to healthcare, frontline workers, including personnel deployed for election duty and those aged 60 and above with comorbidities from January 10, amid the country witnessing a spike in coronavirus infections, driven mainly by the Omicron variant of the virus.

(With agency inputs)

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Wednesday, July 06, 2022