Updated: January 4, 2022 7:38:38 am
Day 1 of the vaccination drive for those aged 15-17 years saw Delhi vaccinating 20,998 children. Numbers are expected to go up from Tuesday when districts start vaccinating at camps. As many as 1.01 million children are eligible for the shot, as per Delhi government data.
There were, however, some hiccups with slots assigned on the CoWIN portal. “Some children were allotted sites that administered the Covishield vaccine, which is not yet approved for children. So, they were guided to the nearest Covaxin centre. The error has been corrected on the portal,” said a senior official from the Delhi government.
As per the central government directive, anyone born on or before 2004 is eligible for either of the two vaccines whereas those born after 2004 would receive only Covaxin. “Only Covaxin is approved for those less than 18 years. 18+ (i.e. born in 2004 or before) are eligible for all vaccines, including Covishield. 15-17 years (born in 2005, 2006, 2007) are eligible only for Covaxin,” Vikas Sheel, additional secretary, Union Health Ministry, said in a tweet.
“Although many children turned up on Monday, the turnout was lower than expected. This will likely improve as we start vaccinating in camp mode. It will also make it easier for us to keep track of immunisation school wise,” said another official from the government.
Teams of vaccinators will set up camps at government and private schools to vaccinate all children there. On Monday, shots were administered at 159 government centres in hospitals, dispensaries, and schools. “Since schools are closed, if parents send their children, it will be taken as consent. It is better if parents come along…,” the official said.
Children queued up outside the immunisation centre at GTB hospital till early evening, with the centre vaccinating 131 children till 5 pm. On the other hand, the response was slow at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
“So far, only 10 children have taken the shot. But that could be because it is cold and they do not want to wake up so early. The numbers are likely to increase by evening,” said Dr Shalini Chawla, nodal officer for immunisation at the hospital. By evening, only 19 children had taken their shot.
There were some parents who complained of their children receiving expired shots. However, the government in November had increased the validity of vaccines for another six months.
“We had nearly 2,000 doses of Covaxin lying with us which were to expire in November 2021, so we wrote to the government asking them to buy it back. The government, however, extended its validity by six months. We are using the doses now to immunise children; the demand for Covaxin has suddenly shot up. The government will have to maintain supply at the same pace to ensure there is no shortage,” said Dr Narin Sehgal, medical director, Sehgal Neo hospital.
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