KOCHI: That only very few parents have opted for COVID vaccination for their children in the 12-14 year age group is slowing down the inoculation drive in Ernakulam district. As per the health department, around 11,800 and 970 children in the age group have taken the first and second doses, respectively, in the district so far, while the target is 90,244.
The district administration's aim was to vaccinate all children between 12 and 14 years with at least one dose by May 10. It seems difficult to achieve with very few children turning up at the vaccination centres. The multiple waves and re-infections among the vaccinated people have acted as a demotivating factor for vaccinating children as well as taking preventive doses.
Ernakulam district collector Jafar Malik said efforts were on to vaccinate children with at least first dose by Tuesday through special camps in the district. The district was the first in the state to complete 100% COVID vaccination of its target population with the first dose last year.
"We are still aiming to complete vaccination among the target population with at least one dose as early as possible. Since it is vacation for children, we are getting lower footfall. But we are setting up special camps at schools with the aim of vaccinating children before the schools reopen in June," said a health official.
A total of 76 vaccination centres are functional in the district. The permission for vaccination among 12-14-year-olds was announced by the Union ministry in March. "Lots of debates and discussions were on against vaccinating children as COVID's impact on them was less compared with adults. Also, reinfections are reported among those fully vaccinated. Therefore, many parents are reluctant to vaccinate their children. Both in the private and government health sectors, the takers for the vaccination and booster doses are less," said Dr Anil George, general physician based in Kochi.