Sharmili Mallick

With the vaccination of children in the age group between 15 and 18 scheduled to start from January 3 in the country, including Odisha, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has set a target to inoculate one lakh eligible teens in the Capital City.

Speaking to media on Friday, Additional District Urban Public Health Officer (ADU-PHO) Antaryami Mishra said, “We hope that the number of children between 15 and 18 years age group will be around 1 lakh in the Capital City. However, after the School and Mass Education Department provided the exact details on the number of children to be vaccinated, we will decide whether the vaccination drive will be conducted in schools or in dedicated session sites.”

He said at present, Bhubaneswar has 35 session sites while the number of vaccination centres will be increased if the need arises. Besides, precaution doses will be administered to healthcare and frontline workers and people above 60 years with co-morbidities or other health problems from January 10, 2022. The officials who will be engaged in the upcoming Panchayat elections will also be given booster doses, added Mishra.

Asked about the criteria to get the precautionary or booster doses, Mishra said that a person is eligible to get the dose if the gap between the second dose of Covid vaccine and the registration date for the booster is more than 9 months (39 weeks). “The beneficiary will have to produce the second dose certificated and Aadhaar Card to get inoculated,” said Mishra.

Meanwhile, BMC Commissioner Sanjay Singh said that the municipal corporation is fully prepared to start administering vaccines to children as well as precautionary doses to healthcare and frontline workers and people above 60 years with co-morbidities.

A meeting to review the preparedness of the BMC for the upcoming inoculation drive was held under the chairmanship of Singh on Thursday. 

Further noting that Covid-19 cases have been surging worldwide, the BMC Commissioner said, “As per the advisory issued by the State Government, we have increased enforcement activities to curb gathering of crowd in various parts of Bhubaneswar. For this, additional forces from BMC, Commissionerate Police and Excise Department have been engaged which will ensure that people do not gather to celebrate New Year till January 2. Stern action will be taken against those found flouting Covid protocols,” added Singh.