The vaccination drive for children is being carried out at both healthcare centres and schools, with clearly marked COVID Vaccination Centres (CVCs) for children. Long lines of beneficiaries were witnessed across CVCs in India.
Delhi kicked off the vaccination for 1.01 million eligible beneficiaries in 159 Government health centres, hospitals and schools. Punjab on the other hand, witnessed a slow start to vaccination of children as majority of the healthcare staff remains on strike demanding pay hike and allowances.
The government had announced the initiation of vaccination for children in the age group of 15-18 years amidst a rapid surge in COVID cases across the country. Further, only Covaxin has been allowed for inoculation of children after approval from Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for the vaccine.
While many children were eager to get themselves vaccinated on the first day itself, parents expressed their worry about children being provided expired Covaxin doses with renewed shelf-life to clear stocks. Many parents took to Twitter to express their distress at being provided no experimental findings that showed Covaxin is effective beyond the earlier given expiry date.
The Health Ministry had earlier instructed state health officials to either set up separate COVID vaccination Centres or make a clear demarcation for the vaccination of the two categories. Although Covaxin remains the same for both adults and children, it comes in pre-filled syringes for children to ensure higher dose accuracy. This makes separate vaccination areas for adults and children essential to ensure no mixing up of vaccines.
Over 7.4 Crore teenagers in the age group of 15-18 years are now eligible for vaccination according to health ministry estimates.