Covid vaccination for children: Gujarat’s ‘mega drive’ on Jan 7; Class 10 students main targets

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With Covid-19 vaccination for children aged 15 to 18 years to commence from Monday, additional chief secretary of the health department, Manoj Aggarwal, Saturday said a mega vaccination drive will be conducted on January 7. The drive will target Class 10 students so that “there is no issue faced during board exams,” stated a government release. On Saturday, top officials of the state health department held a virtual review meeting with municipal commissioners and district collectors in the state to take stock of the preparations in place to conduct the vaccination drive for children.

Registration for children will begin from January 2 with options for walk-in as well as online registrations. The vaccination sessions will be conducted from 9 am to 6 pm and the duration would be further extended, if need be.

Moreover, a special drive for children’s vaccination will be conducted from January 3 to January 9. An estimated 35 lakh children, including school-going kids, those attending industrial training institutes, children in institutions, as well as school dropouts, are expected to be eligible vaccine beneficiaries for the vaccine. “While we are planning to cover the majority of the eligible child beneficiaries in the seven-day window, the vaccination will continue even after. Currently, the state has a stock of approximately 25 lakh doses of Covaxin and another tranche of supply is expected on Monday or Tuesday,” state immunisation officer Nayan Jani told The Indian Express.

More than 3,500 separate session sites will be made available and shall be increased based on local needs, the press note said. “Local administrations have been given the powers to decide if they want to establish session sites — these could be at schools, specific institutions or health set-ups. Children at institutions such as juvenile homes, orphanages or any other such special care institutions will also be covered with specific session sites,” Jani added.

Any identity proof, along with a school identity card, can be used for registration, said Aggarwal. “If no identity card is available, a person can register under ‘persons without identity card’ that will require only a mobile number. If no mobile number is available within family or friends, the school’s teacher or principal’s mobile number can be used to register,” said Aggarwal.

An estimated 700 schools in rural and city jurisdictions of Ahmedabad with an estimated 2.50 lakh students will be eligible for the dose, said the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) in an official statement. According to AMC, action plans have been prepared for January 3-7 to cover eligible beneficiaries in these schools. Health teams would be visiting the schools on specified dates to vaccinate the children.

In Surat city, the Surat Municipal Corporation has identified 560 schools where an estimated 1.82 lakh students would be eligible for the vaccine. SMC health officials have appointed a nodal officer (teacher) in each school to identify students born between 2004 to 2007. “Our health department teams will reach these schools from January 3 to vaccinate the students. We are hopeful that we will finish the targeted figures by January 7. Simultaneously, our teams will also contact the ITI and diploma colleges and find out the total number of students and vaccinate them,” said SMC Deputy Health commissioner Dr. Ashish Naik.

Meanwhile, booster doses for health workers, frontline workers and those aged above 60 years with comorbidities will commence from January 10.

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