PM Modi announces vaccine for children, precaution doses for frontline workers, senior citizens
Children between 15 to 18 years will be inoculated starting from January 3. Precaution doses for frontline workers and senior citizens with comorbidities will be starting from January 10.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a surprise address to the nation on Saturday evening, announced the Covid-19 vaccine for children and booster doses, which PM Modi termed as precaution doses, for frontline workers and senior citizens, amid the Omicron scare. Children between the age group of 15 to 18 years will be getting the Covid vaccine from January 3, 2022. Senior citizens with comorbidities will receive booster doses from January 10, 2022, PM Modi announced.
While the demand for the booster doses was being raised amid the outbreak of the Omicron variant, PM Modi in his unscheduled address on Saturday night said India's scientific community takes decisions only after a thorough examination. Lauding the scientific community for its relentless effort in the fight against the pandemic, PM Modi said, “Our scientific community carefully decided every detail of the vaccine, when to take which doses etc. Now the scientific community has arrived at some crucial decisions which I would like to share with you on the auspicious occasion of Christmas and also the birth anniversary of Atal Bihari Vajpayee."
'Precaution dose' will be administered to frontline workers and senior citizens with comorbidities. Senior citizens will be administered these doses only after consultation with their doctors, PM Modi said.
The beginning of a new vaccination phase from January 2022 will complete a year of India's vaccination journey as the inoculation drive against Covid-19 began on January 16, 2021. Frontline workers and senior citizens with severe illness were the priority groups of the vaccination drive as well.
Talking at length about Omicron, the new variant of SARS-CoV-2, PM Modi said there is no need to panic as India is well-poised in the fight against the virus thanks to its healthcare infrastructure. However, the pandemic is not over and there is a need to maintain Covid-appropriate behaviour, PM Modi emphasised.
About India's preparedness against any fresh surge in the pandemic, PM Modi said India is equipped with 90,000 beds for children and the country has reached maximum vaccination coverage in record time. Lauding the healthcare infrastructure of the country, PM Modi said soon there will be nasal vaccine and DNA vaccine.
PM Modi's announcement of vaccine for children comes as the drug controller general of India on Saturday granted approval for emergency use of Bharat Biotech's Covaxin for children between 12 and 18 years, making it the second vaccine after Zydus Healthcare’s ZyCoV-D to be approved for children below 18 years. However, starting from January 3, India will be administering vaccines to those who are 15+.