Amid Omicron scare, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that India will soon start vaccinating kids. PM Modi, in his surprise address, said that kids in the age group of 15 to 18 years will start getting the COVID-19 vaccine from January 3 next year. PM Modi said that the move is necessary to allay the concerns of parents whose kids have to go to schools and colleges. He insisted that the move will also give a fillip to education in India which has suffered a considerable dent because of the coronavirus outbreak last year. The pandemic has forced the prolonged closure of academic institutions and forced them to opt for alternate means of educating kids.
PM Modi also announced a third dose or booster dose for healthcare and frontline workers. Terming it as a precaution dose, he said they can start taking booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from January 10, 2022. Those who can get booster doses will also include senior citizens with comorbidities.
Several western countries have already rolled out booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine considering the new variants of the coronavirus. The demand for it has been raised in India as well. However, PM Modi said that such decisions are taken by the scientific community only after a thorough examination. He also lauded the scientific community for its relentless effort in the fight against the coronavirus.
“Every detail of COVID-19 vaccines, like when to take which doses, etc., has been very carefully decided by our scientific community. Now they have arrived at some crucial decisions which I would like to share with you on the auspicious occasion of Christmas and also the birth anniversary of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.”
The new phase of vaccination, which will begin in January next year, will complete almost a year of India’s vaccination drive as it started on January 16, 2021. Frontline workers and senior citizens with severe illness were on priority in the first phase of the vaccination drive as well.
No need to panic
Talking about Omicron, which has been declared the ‘variant of concern’ by the World Health Organization, the prime minister said that there is nothing to panic about as “India is well-poised in the fight against the coronavirus thanks to its healthcare infrastructure.”
However, he emphasised that the pandemic is not over yet and people need to follow COVID-appropriate behaviour.