BENGALURU: The Union government will soon start supplying COVID-19 vaccines for children and we are expecting it to arrive in Karnataka next week, said Health Minister Dr. K Sudhakar. The state will provide vaccination to children based on priority as they have already identified kids with vulnerabilities through Arogya Nandana program.
"COVID-19 cases have decreased and gradually the academic year has begun. Parents are hesitant to send kids to school until their vaccination is done. The central government has asked for 1 crore doses of Zydus Cadila's vaccine for children. How many doses will be sent to us is not known but we are prepared for it," Sudhakar said, speaking at the 125th year anniversary of Minto Eye Hospital.
Karnataka has already administered about 6.75 crore vaccine doses and we have now streamlined the entire process. The state has achieved coverage of 89% in the first dose and 48% in the second dose. People should not neglect to take a second dose within the prescribed time as both doses are necessary to get maximum protection against the virus. We must not let our guard down until the pandemic is completely eradicated, he advised.
When the pandemic was at its peak, Victoria and Minto hospitals were reserved for Covid treatment. Now it is reopened for regular treatment. People can now avail necessary treatment without any hesitation, he added.
He also said that the government is against increasing fees for medical education. The private medical colleges have asked for a fee hike at a recent meeting with representatives but the government has decided against it. However, the medical colleges have not yet agreed.
"People have been affected financially by COVID-19 and fee hikes will be a burden to parents. We will meet the representatives and convince them once again," Sudhakar said.
He urged for eye donation to become a people's movement, even mentioning that CM Basavaraja Bommai has pledged to donate his organs, while Sudhakar himself pledged to donate his eyes last year.
"Eye donation awareness is important to combat blindness.3 crore to 4 crore people in the country suffer from blindness. Instead of letting the eyes of the deceased go into the soil, it can give light to many blind people. With technology, Kannada actor Puneeth Rajkumar's eyes have gone to four people," Sudhakar shared.
He said that Minto Hospital was started by the vision of Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV,125 years ago and has grown into a prestigious organization. About 500-800 people come to the OPD every day and about 10,000 eye surgeries are carried out every year, the minister added.