Updated: January 4, 2022 2:27:09 am
Sixteen-year-old Radha Shukla held her phone to her ear as she stood in line for her vaccine shot on Monday morning – the first day of the inoculation drive for teenagers — attending a mathematics class over Zoom.
She was among a dozen teenagers who lined up to get their vaccines at a MCD hospital in Lajpat Nagar. She was nervous. “I’m scared of injections. But my parents insisted that I get vaccinated on the first day because they anticipated that the crowd would be less. They also thought that getting the second dose in time would be easier if I’m due earlier. After the PM’s announcement, our teachers had also told us that we should get vaccinated quickly,” said the class X student of a government school in Ashram.
While 16-year-old Shreshtha Karki stood in line, she absently drifted close to some of the others waiting and her mother gestured to her to keep distance. “I’m a little scared, but I’m also excited because I’m here on the ‘first day first show’. I hope I can go outside a little more freely after this, though the mask will continue to be my priority,” she said.
Apart from his own protection, 16-year-old Harsh was also keen on setting a positive example. “There are still people in my lane — friends and elders — who don’t want to get vaccinated. Now that I’ve got it, I can show them that there are no side effects and that they should get it too,” said Harsh, who studies at a government school in Lajpat Nagar.
Saumya Bansal, a class XI student getting her vaccine in Laxmi Bai Nagar, was also encouraging her friends: “It was not scary or painful at all. I have clicked a picture and posted it on my group, so my friends also get their first dose. I am happy to be here on the first day of the drive as there is no rush or long queues. My teachers have also asked us to update the vaccination certificate in the class group.”
In the meantime, Abhi (15), who lives 100 metres away from the vaccination centre, was not aware of the drive: “I’ve been wanting to get vaccinated as I have lost some people close to me to Covid. I wasn’t aware that the drive started for kids. I will go and get it done.”
Around 15 children were vaccinated by 10.30 am at the CGHS Dispensary at Laxmi Bai Nagar, according to hospital staff.
At the vaccination site at SDMC primary school in RK Puram, around 200 doses of Covaxin had been set aside for the 15-18 age group, according to a doctor at the site.
There was both excitement and nervousness among those who lined up to take the vaccine at the site. Sidharth Abrol, a 15-year-old from Pushp Vihar, said, “It was very exciting to be the first person in my class to take the vaccine. With Omicron doing the rounds, I’ll try to stay home and not be a carrier. Now that we are getting vaccinated, I wonder if school will return to normal. Since school buses are not plying, getting to school is difficult.”
In neighbouring Gurgaon, Tamanna (17) a class XII student of DAV School in Sector 49, was the first to be vaccinated in the district. Sporting a smile and a victory sign as she stepped out after taking the jab, she said, “I am excited to be among the first lot to be vaccinated. I had been waiting for the inoculations to begin. I did not feel scared at all. The process was smooth. I hope every teenager is vaccinated at the earliest.”
Her mother, Namita Dhingra, said she felt a bit relieved now. “As parents, we have been anxious for children to get vaccinated especially with the emergence of omicron variant. The fear, while stepping out, would be considerably reduced.”
Krishna Yadav (16), a student of class XI, said, “Though I am slightly scared of needles, I wanted to be vaccinated on the first day. The shot barely took a few seconds. I have been reading about the importance of vaccination… Since my term 2 exams are approaching, it was important to get vaccinated at the earliest so my studies are not disturbed later.”
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