NEW DELHI: An estimated 4.71 crore children in the age group of 12-14 years will be jabbed from Wednesday, while 13.75 crore people above 60 years will be eligible for their booster shots, the central government said on Tuesday.
The central government, which announced the much-awaited decision on Monday to jab children between 12-14 years as schools in India are opening, said free of cost Corbevax vaccine, manufactured by Biological E. Limited, will be administered to all beneficiaries at all government Covid vaccination centres.
Registrations on the CoWIN portal for the vaccination of these two age groups will start on Wednesday from 9 am or through an onsite walk-in, said Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan at a virtual meet on Wednesday with states and union territories. He had also written to all the states and union territories on Monday about the government's decision to further expand the vaccination programme in the country.
The government on Monday announced that the decision to jab adolescents - born in 2008, 2009, 2010 - and those who are already above 12 years of age from Wednesday was taken after deliberations with scientific bodies.
The vaccination strategy for senior citizens has also been amended. The government has lifted the co-morbidity clause for people above 60 years, enabling them to take the booster or precaution shots. But the condition to give booster shots to people above 60 years after nine months of their second dose still remains.
The Union health secretary also advised states that if a beneficiary is registered but has not attained the age of 12 years on the date of vaccination should not be given Covid vaccine.
It also clarified that there should not be any mixing of vaccines.
Highlighting the slow pace of vaccination among the vulnerable groups, Bhushan urged the states to ensure that all those above 60 years of age are covered with both doses of Covid vaccine. He also advised states to ensure judicious utilisation of the vaccines and to ensure there is no wastage.
“As per earlier guidelines, states can replace those that are due for expiry and also replace them from one district within the state to another to ensure that vaccines are not wasted,” a statement issued by the ministry said.
At the moment, children between 15-18 years are being offered Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.
So far, 5.59 crore children in the age group of 15-18 have received their first dose, while 3.43 crore have got the second shot. India has vaccinated over 180.40 crore people. About 1,04,58,219 people above 60 years, with co-morbidity, have been given booster shots.