Sharmili Mallick

Amid the swelling cases of Omicron variant of Covid-19, the vaccination drive for teens between the age of 15 and 18 years kicked off today at several dedicated session sites across Odisha. The timing for vaccination has been fixed between 8 am and 1 pm, said reports.

A total of 939 session sites have been set up across the State while the government aims to complete the first dose of vaccination for 15 to 18 year olds in a month. The teenagers can register for the vaccination through CoWIN app and also prefer for on-site registration. 

As per the directions issued by the Drugs Controller General of India earlier, indigenously-developed Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin will only be administered to the children in this age group.

As many as 35 vaccination centres have been opened for the inoculation of 15 to 18 year olds in Bhubaneswar, the State capital of Odisha.

Director of Capital Hospital, Dr Laxmidhar Sahoo informed media on the commencement of the fresh vaccination drive of teens. "Beneficiaries who have enrolled their names on the Co-WIN portal as well as those who have opted for offline registration are being given shots. We have targeted to complete the vaccination process in a month. The immunisation of 15-18 years age group is very essential as they are very very active and susceptible to spread the infection more,” Sahoo told reporters.

A beneficiary at a vaccination centre in the premises of SCB Hospital in Cuttack said, “I am excited as well as nervous about the side effects of the vaccine but there is no other way than to get vaccinated if we are to prevent a third wave of pandemic in our country." 

Similarly, another girl queing for vaccination at Urban Community Health Centre (UCHC) at Unit-4 in Bhubaneswar said, “I had registered for the vaccination through yesterday. Vaccination is utmost necessary for us as it will help us prevent contraction from Coronavirus. I request the youngsters of my age to get inoculated as soon as possible as the cases of Omicron continue to increase day-by-day."

The Union Health Ministry has said that teens born on January 1, 2007 or before will be eligible for vaccination under this category. The States have been asked to ensure that there are separate queues and vaccination teams for the 15-18 age group to avoid confusion with the vaccination process of adults.

On the other hand, a total of 23 new cases of Omicron variant of Covid-19 were detected in Odisha on Sunday. The total number of cases with the new variant has reached 37 in the state, said Niranjan Mishra, Director of Public Health.