Covid-19 vaccination for children less than 15 years to begin after evaluation of scientific evidence, says health secretary

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New Delhi (20/01/2022): The Union Health Ministry will decide about COVID-19 vaccination for children less than 15 years of age only after scientific evidence, said Rajesh Bhushan, Health Secretary while addressing a press briefing on Thursday.

“From January 16, 2021, COVID-19 vaccination has been started and rolled out based on scientific evidence and assumptions of protecting the most vulnerable people. So, as the scientific evidence evolved, we will be expanding the coverage of vaccination. We will take a decision on the basis of scientific evidence for below 15 years old children,” Bhushan said.

Further, Dr VK Paul, Member (Health) Niti Aayog explained, “COVID-19 vaccination for 12 years old is our next goal. These decisions will only be taken after scientific information and scientific decision. We are working on it also.”

Earlier, the official sources said that vaccination for those under 15 years of age has not been yet taken by the Union Health Ministry. The Central government also informed that 72 per cent of India’s adult population is fully vaccinated whereas around 52 per cent of children in the 15-18 years old age group have been inoculated with the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine.

Meanwhile, the health officials said that the adolescents in the age group of 15-18 years are actively participating in the COVID-19 vaccination drive.

On Monday, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya also said that over 3.5 crore teenagers between the age limit of 15 to 18 years have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. “Amazing enthusiasm among young India for COVID-19 vaccination. Over 3.5 crore children between the 15-18 age group have received 1st dose of the COVID vaccine since January 3. Congratulations to all my young friends who have got vaccinated,” the health minister tweeted.

So far, India has administered 3.45 crore first doses of COVID-19 vaccination to children in the age group of 15-18 years old. The country began vaccinating children between the ages of 15-18 years from January 3 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the announcement on December 25 last year.

Notably, India may begin inoculating children in the age group of 12-14 years against COVID-19 in March this year, as per the statement given by Dr NK Arora who is the Chairman of the COVID-19 working group of NTAGI.

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