Covid-19 Vaccination For Children Aged 12 To 14 Is Expected To Begin In March: NTAGI Chief

by Bhaswati Guha Majumder - Jan 17, 2022 05:48 PM +05:30 IST
Covid-19 Vaccination For Children Aged 12 To 14 Is Expected To Begin In March: NTAGI ChiefVaccination drive.
  • Vaccination of children against coronavirus is making significant progress across India as the country prepares to vaccinate children aged between 12 and 14.

After launching the booster shot and vaccination program for youngsters aged between 15 to 18, Dr N K Arora, who is the chairman of the Covid-19 working group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation said that India will start vaccination for children aged 12 to 14 against the coronavirus by the end of February or March.

Vaccination of children is making significant progress across the country. Only 13 days after the rollout on 3 January, 3.31 crore children aged 15 to 17 years old had received their first shot, accounting for about 45 per cent coverage. Now, as the Covid-19 cases are rising, the latest announcement brings fresh hope to the parents of the children, who are so far considered as the vulnerable group as they are unvaccinated.

“We aim to cover all the 7.4 crore adolescents in the 15-17 age bracket with the first dose by January-end so that we can start vaccinating them with the second dose from early February and finish the second dose by February-end. We want to start vaccinating children between 12 and 14 years from February-end or early March,” Dr Arora told Times of India.

As per the report, experts have said that children aged between 12 and 17 are similar to adults. According to Dr Arora, the decision was primarily made to protect adolescents aged 15 to 17. After they have had their full immunisation, the government will consider extending the policy to include the 12-14 years age group, he added.

“Expanding the ambit of children’s vaccination is a welcome step. The government should also consider prioritising the vaccination of comorbid children in the 5-14 age group as they are also more at risk of developing severe Covid,” said Dr Pramod Jog, former national president of the Indian Academy of Paediatrics.

The Covaxin vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech and administered to the country's adolescents in the 15-17 age range has received emergency use approval for children aged 2 to 17. In trials with children aged 2 to 17, the vaccination was proven to be safe and effective.

Meanwhile, on 16 January, India finished a year of vaccinations. So far, over 150 crore vaccination doses have been successfully administered. Mansukh Mandaviya, the Union Health Minister, praised the immunisation campaign, calling it "the most successful in the world".

On the same day, the Centre has issued a commemorative postal stamp to mark the first anniversary of the country's national immunisation programme against the virus. The stamp depicts a health worker administering Covaxin to a senior citizen.

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