To increase Covid-19 vaccination coverage among children between the ages of 12 and 14, Delhi districts have been working on increasing the number of camps in schools and vaccination sites that remain open till 4 or 5 pm, said officials. The uptake of the second dose in this age category has been slower with schools reopening fully for offline classes from the beginning of April.
“Since offline classes started earlier this month, timings have been an issue for children. Most of the vaccination sites are now in government dispensaries that run between 8 am-1 pm or 9 am-2 pm, the time when students are usually in schools. I have seen many children having to return because the centre closed before they could reach. Now, we are looking at increasing the timings of some of the centres, especially on the weekends,” said a senior district official from Northwest Delhi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday held a meeting with chief ministers to review the Covid-19 situation in the country. He took stock of the increasing cases and positivity rate in Delhi NCR. The incidence of Covid-19 increased slightly to 1,204 on Tuesday and further to 1,367 on Wednesday after remaining stagnant at nearly 1,000 cases a day over the six previous days. The average positivity rate over the last seven days stood at 4.71 per cent.
PM Modi said that there was a need to remain alert in view of the increasing cases in some states and the surge seen in many countries due to omicron and its sub-variants.
He said that the situation remained under control in all states during the third wave of Covid-19 due to high levels of vaccination. Over 96 per cent of the adult population in India has received one dose of vaccine, with 84 per cent people over the age of 15 years in the country having received both the doses.
He said: “Our priority is to vaccinate all eligible children at the earliest. For this, as before, special campaigns will also be needed in schools. Teachers and parents should be aware of this.”
Delhi already organises camps in schools to vaccinate all eligible students. “We have a schedule for camps across all government schools, which has been circulated by the department of education. Our teams go there and immunise the children. We have been able to achieve 80 per cent coverage in almost all schools we visit. The response, however, hasn’t been great from private sector schools,” said an official from the Southeast district.
To ensure even the children from private schools are covered, the officials have started several vaccination centres which are open till 4 pm or 5 pm at community spaces such as gurudwaras.
So far, 6.27 doses have been administered to children between the ages of 12 and 14 years, according to the government’s CoWIN portal.