Sharmili Mallick

With India becoming the first country to approve a Covid-19 vaccine for kids as young as 2-years old early this month, the Odisha government will be beginning the preparatory exercises from tomorrow.

Informing media persons about the preparatory meet, Health and Family Welfare Director Bijay Panigrahi today said a training session of State Health Department officials on vaccination of children will be held through virtual mode from Friday.

The officials attending the training session will impart so to the officials at the district level, he informed.

“The Subject Expert Committee has recommended to the Drugs Controller General Of India (DGCI) for the vaccination of children. Only after the Drugs Controller General of India's (DGCI) nod, Centre will formulate a policy. And based on the Centre’s direction, the immunisation drive for kids will begin in the State. But we are fully prepared to take up the vaccination task,” claimed Panigrahi.

“There has been no clear-cut guidelines as yet on whether everyone in 2 and 18 years age group will be given the shots or to only some specific age group. Once the approval comes, the State will take necessary steps to increase the vaccination centres. Odisha has around 1.4 crore beneficiaries in the age group between 2 and 18,” he stated.

Expressing delight over the country achieving the target of 100-crore shots across the country on Monday, Panigrahi said, “The vaccination drive in State is moving at a fast pace. At least 3.48 crore doses have been administered to the people in Odisha to date. While around 2.46 crore people have received the first dose, 1.02 crore people are fully immunised.”

As per the State Health Director, the vaccination drive is currently underway in as many as 1,850 session sites across the State. The State currently has 22 lakh stock of Covid vaccines.

"The State government is working on its stated plan to administer a single dose to all the targeted adult population by the end of December,” he said.