Karnataka armed with 20 lakh Covaxin doses for teenagers

Stock of 25 lakh doses of Covishield available, more coming

Published: 02nd January 2022 06:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd January 2022 06:14 AM   |  A+A-

A vial of the Covaxin vaccine is being displayed by a medical worker.

A vial of the Covaxin vaccine is being displayed by a medical worker. (File photo | AFP)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: On Monday, the State Government will kick off the Covaxin drive for the 15-18 years age group in schools and PU colleges. National Health Mission Managing Director Arundhathi Chandrashekar said the state currently has 20 lakh doses of Covaxin available to vaccinate children against Covid-19.“The Centre is ready to send more as per Karnataka’s requirement. We also have 25 lakh doses of Covishield with 10-12 lakh more doses of it coming on Saturday. These will be available to be used for the precautionary doses from January 10,” she added.

A medic prepares a shot of Covid-19
vaccine in Bengaluru | Ashishkrishna HP

Karnataka has to vaccinate 31.75 lakh children between the age of 15 and 18 years. It is estimated that there are 15.31 lakh people aged above 60 years with co-morbidities, who will be eligible for the precautionary dose. As the vaccine is safe and the Technical Advisory Committee has approved it, it can be given to this age group who are almost adults, said Dr Asha Benakappa, head of the Department of Paediatrics, Chandramma Dayananda Sagar Institute of Medical Education and Research, adding that it is better to vaccinate them to get herd immunity.

“The virus will be around for a while and hardly any reactions have been observed with Covaxin. Pandemic fatigue has set in, affecting the mental health of children. They have the fear now that they are not yet vaccinated and they are at a crucial point in deciding their careers. Vaccines can offer them some protection from serious infection and mortality,” Dr Asha explained. 

As for the Under-12 age group, however, she said it is better to wait and watch how children between 15 and 18 years respond. “We do not know how the immunological response will be in children below 12 years of age. Most of them who get Covid-19 are asymptomatic and there are hardly any deaths, so why waste the vaccines on them? Let’s shift the vaccines to the 15-18 years age group, wherein, statistics have shown that this age group is expected to get serious infection. Hence, they require the vaccines, with yearly boosters similar to influenza,” Dr Asha added. 

Similarly, Dr Srikanta J T, Consultant, Paediatric Interventional Pulmonology and Sleep Medicine, Aster CMI Hospital, who is also a member of the state Covid-19 committee set up to tackle the third wave, said that even though we still do not have enough data on the efficacy of vaccines, since vaccination with Covaxin started, especially among kids, it seems to be a safe bet due to the known technology as well as predictable adverse effects. Moving forward, this should not only help mitigate the risk of infectiousness but also the severity, if any, in all the age groups, he added. 


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