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Friday, January 28, 2022

‘Was scared of needle but excited to get jabbed’: Over 90,000 Assam teenagers vaccinated on first day

Assam has approximately 20 lakh eligible recipients who fall in the 15-18 age group.

Written by Tora Agarwala | Guwahati |
Updated: January 3, 2022 8:50:00 pm
Assam, Covid-19A teenager gets vaccinated in Assam on Monday (Twitter: @keshab_mahanta)

On Monday afternoon, at the TC Girls High School in Guwahati, 16-year-old Manisha Gautam said that she and her friends had been “waiting to get the vaccine”. “I did not think I would be eligible till I turned 18 but I am very happy that they rolled it out for us,” she said.

At the same centre, Mridusmita Deka, 17, said that while there was hesitancy about the vaccine earlier, it was not the case anymore. “Every single eligible student in our school has turned up for the shot. We are really happy that we will get both the shots before our board exams in March,” she said.

For many teenagers, the initial sense of fear and forebording was soon replaced with the excitement that came along with the experience.

Ronica Nazmi, 16, who received her shot, said that she had been “only a little scared of the needle.” “We were worried the needle will hurt a bit, but otherwise there are no inhibitions about the vaccine at all…in fact, we were all excited,” she said.

Over 90,000 teenagers received their first dose of Covaxin in Assam on Monday across around 500 educational institutions in the state which have been converted into special vaccination centres.

The drive was a collaborative effort between the health and education departments as well as the district administrations.

A release from the state health department said that over 90,000 children (between the ages of 15 to 17) received the shot in the Covid-19 vaccination centres till 6.30 pm on Monday. It added that the government aims to complete the first dose of vaccination for all children in this age group by January 9.

The state has approximately 20 lakh eligible recipients who fall in the 15-18 age category.

Across schools in Assam, the drive was conducted smoothly, said Director (Health Services) Munindra Nath Ngatey. He added that while vaccines were administered by tying up with schools on Monday, existing government centres would roll out vaccinations from Tuesday onwards. “Those who do not attend school in Assam, or are currently outside their respective districts where they attend school, or have dropped out of school, can get their shots by registering online, or walking into any of the existing vaccine centres from Tuesday,” he said.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa launched the drive at the Oil India HS School in Dibrugarh district’s Duliajan, with other Cabinet ministers and BJP legislators simultaneously doing so at various selected schools in the state. Health & Family Welfare minister Keshab Mahanta inaugurated the drive for students at the Gopal Boro HS School in Guwahati.

Since many government schools do not issue identity cards to children, the schools were requested to make unique IDs for each student so that they could be registered on the CoWin. “This is specially for those who do not have PAN or Aadhar cards,” he said, adding that in many schools where the internet connection was not good, registration was first done manually offline, after which the details were keyed in on the CoWin portal.

Health Minister Mahanta had earlier announced that first dose for children would be completed before January 9, so that the students could get their second dose in before their board and final exams commenced.

In a tweet on Monday, Sarma said the government was planning to complete both doses of vaccination for the 15-18 age group within two months so that the children could “confidently appear in upcoming exams.”

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