COVID-19 vaccination for children between 15-18, boosters for above 60 years and healthcare workers, announces PM Modi

The prime minister also said precautionary doses will be given to healthcare and frontline workers from 10 January

FP Staff December 25, 2021 22:41:38 IST
COVID-19 vaccination for children between 15-18, boosters for above 60 years and healthcare workers, announces PM Modi

India will start vaccinating children between the ages of 15 to 18 from January 3 next year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in a sudden address to the nation tonight. ANI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said COVID-19 vaccination for children between the age of 15 to 18 years will begin from 3 January amid a steady rise in the cases of the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19.

The prime minister also said precautionary doses will be given to healthcare and frontline workers from 10 January.

For those above 60 years with comorbidities, precaution doses will also be given from 10 January, said Modi.

Since the start of the year from 16 January till now, India has registered 141 crore vaccine doses, said the prime minister.

He further added that 61 percent of India's population has received both the COVID-19 doses, while 90 percent received single dose.

COVID-19 not over yet: PM urges everyone to follow COVID-19 guidelines

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.

"COVID-19 isn't past us yet. Being careful is very important," he said.

"Today, the nation has 18 lakh isolation beds, 5 lakh oxygen-supported beds, 1.4 lakh ICU beds, and 90,000 special beds for children. Today, we have over 3,000 functional PSA Oxygen plants and four lakh Oxygen cylinders have been provided to all states," he said.

The prime minister also urged people to follow COVID-19 appropriate behaviour. "In India, many people have been found to be infected with Omicron. I would urge all of you not to panic, be careful and alert. Wear the mask and wash hands regularly."

Highlighting the need to follow COVID-19 protocols like wearing masks, PM Modi said, "The experience of fighting the coronavirus global epidemic so far shows that following all the guidelines at the individual level is a great weapon to combat corona. And the second weapon is vaccination."

As per the Union Health Ministry, India has reported 7,189 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours. Meanwhile, the nationwide case tally of the Omicron variant of coronavirus has reached 415.

Centre to deploy teams to 10 states reporting high cases, low vaccination

Amid the Omicron scare and surge in cases in various parts of the country, the Union Health Ministry on Saturday said that multi-disciplinary Central teams would be deployed in ten identified states.

"A decision has been taken to deploy multi-disciplinary Central teams to 10 identified States some of which are either reporting an increasing number of Omicron and COVID-19 cases or slow vaccination pace," says Union Health Ministry in an official statement.

According to the order issued by the ministry on Friday, these states are Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Mizoram, Karnataka, Bihar and Jharkhand. Also on the list are Punjab and Uttar Pradesh — both are due to hold Assembly elections next year.

The Centre's teams will be deployed for five days, during which time they will work with state health authorities on improving testing and surveillance and enforcing Covid-appropriate behaviour.

As per the Ministry, these teams will specifically look at areas of contact tracing, including surveillance, containment operations, and COVID-19 testing including sending of adequate samples from clusters to the INSACOG network for genome sequencing.

The teams will also be responsible for the enforcement of COVID Appropriate Behaviors, availability of hospital beds, sufficient logistics including ambulances, ventilators, medical oxygen etc, and COVID-19 vaccination progress in the states.

"The State level central teams will assess the situation, suggest remedial actions and submit a report every evening by 7 pm on the public health activities being undertaken to both the Central and state government," the statement further read.

With inputs from agencies

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