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New Delhi: On the first day of COVID-19 vaccination for children in 15 to 18 years age group, more than 40 lakh vaccine doses were administered till 8.30 pm on Monday, as per the CoWIN portal.
Terming the achievement as another "feather in the cap" in India's ongoing nationwide vaccination drive in which the country earlier crossed the milestone of administering over 100 crore vaccine doses, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya tweeted, "Well done Young India! Over 40 Lakhs between 15-18 age group received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on the first day of vaccination drive for children, till 8 pm. This is another feather in the cap of India's vaccination drive." It is here to note that the vaccination registration for children in this age group began on January 1 while the drive commenced on January 3.
The vaccination is being carried out in consultation with hospitals, health centres and schools.
Earlier in the day, the Union Health Minister visited a COVID-19 vaccination site for children at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and interacted with some of the beneficiaries. During his interaction, Mandaviya asked them to motivate their friends to get vaccinated.
A large number of vaccination centres administered Covaxin at different centres, schools and hospitals.
"With the launch of vaccinations for children between 15-18 years, we have made a beginning in protecting our future and the future of the country. This is an age group that needs to be protected against COVID-19 and vaccination will help in mitigating the severity and preventing complications of Covid in children," said Prathap C Reddy, Chairman of Apollo Hospitals Group.
"We have a capacity of administering vaccine doses to 200 children in a single day, but today it was the first day. So as a precaution we inoculated doses to just 50 children today," Dr Sameer Bhati, in charge of vaccination centre at Tilak Nagar told ANI.
"Initially due to Omicron fear, fewer children turned up for vaccination but later when they witnessed no risk, then they came forward, " he added.
Dr Bhati said that for a dose of Covaxin, they charged Rs 1,200. "Most of the beneficiaries said that they are not feeling anything yet after the vaccination. They are excited after the vaccination and feeling safe," he remarked.
Dr Sameer Kulkarni, Regional Director of Paras Healthcare said, "Since schools and colleges have opened earlier this year, several outbreaks in residential schools and college dorms have been reported. As a result, it's critical that we should do everything we can to ensure that our children are healthy and safe."
"The vaccine drive for children for ages 15-18 is certainly a welcome move by the government. We believe that the vaccines are safe. The risks of contracting COVID-19 greatly outweigh any minor adverse effects that may occur as a result of immunization. While children, by and large, have only a mild disease themselves, a small number of them may get sick enough to require hospitalization as was seen in South Africa lately. The vaccination can mitigate the severity of disease in children so they can be managed at home and this can prevent the health services from being overwhelmed with additional load," he added.
"We have done all arrangements like social distancing, vaccination facilities. We are distributing tokens to avoid the crowd and vaccinating them on the basis of tokens. We also have an observation point where children have to wait for sometime after vaccination," said Dr Anjali Saxena, Madhukar Rainbow Hospital.
Ananya, a student of Modern School in Delhi, after vaccination said, "I was the first to get the vaccination at Maulana Azad Medical College. All my family members are fully vaccinated. Thus, I wasn't having any fear about vaccination." (ANI)