Pradeep Pattanayak

The Odisha government has initiated process to undertake mega vaccination drives following the announcement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding administration of Covid-19 vaccine doses to children between 15-18 years. There are over 25 lakh eligible beneficiaries in the State who will start receiving doses from January 3.     

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced three major decisions on December 25 which include vaccination of children between 15-18 years age group, precaution dose vaccination of healthcare and frontline workers and precaution dose vaccination of citizens of 60 years or above. In our State, there are 25, 53,000 beneficiaries under the 15-18 age group. Their vaccination will start from January 3,” informed Odisha Health and Family Welfare Director Dr Bijay Panigrahi. 

About the precautionary vaccination of citizens of 60 or above, he said there are 52,37,000 eligible beneficiaries in the State. Of them, those with comorbidities have to bring a certificate from their doctors to get doses. 

Underlying the importance of administration of vaccines to beneficiaries coming under 15-18 age group, Covid Task Force chief Dr N K Arora said that children between 15-18 age group are at risk of infection just like adults. Evidence within country says that nearly two-third of Covid-19 deaths have occurred in the age group. The adolescents need to be protected. 

“There are two other advantages of immunizing adolescents. The second point is since they are quite mobile. They are to go schools and colleges. Therefore they are risk of getting infection, particularly in the light of Omicron. The immunization will provide them some protection. The third point is many time these adolescents get infection and in turn they can infect their elderly family members and those who have comorbidities,” Arora added.