Vaccination drive for children

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Following the announcement made by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi on Christmas Day last year, the COVID-19 vaccination drive for children aged 15-18 was launched today all over the country. In Jammu and Kashmir, the drive was launched by the Lt. Governor, Manoj Sinha. With the new variant of Covid-19 Omicron emerging as a fresh threat to the humanity, the government of India has given go ahead to the vaccination of children in the age group of 15-18 besides the use of boosters for health workers and those aged above 60, to begin with. Omicron has once again put the entire world on high alert, India being no exception, and the number of cases reported all over the world is worrisome. The new variant has once again reminded the world that the deadly Covid-19 is here to stay and thus any sort of complacency would be fatal. Though the vaccination drives are going on successfully and more and more people are getting the jabs, to defeat the deadly virus, it is more than the vaccine that is needed.

World Health Organisation has designated Omicron as a Variant of Concern, that indicates it is quite likely to be extremely transmissible and potentially replace the dominant Delta variant. Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is reporting 100-200 positive cases every day thus is at the risk of spread of the new variant. Though the vaccination drive is in full swing, Jammu and Kashmir, particularly Kashmir province, of late, has been reporting increased number of Covid-19 positive cases. The concerned district authorities have repeatedly been asking people to follow the SOPs in letter and spirit to contain the spread of the deadly virus. However, unfortunately some people have been ignoring the precautions result being the fresh surge in positive cases. Despite the constant counseling of health experts and directives and guidelines by the administration, people who violate SOPs are not only violating the rules, they are putting their lives, the lives of their dear ones and that of general public to risk. The increasing number of positive cases should awaken people. Winter is already here and normally this is the season when people are more at the risk of catching different kind of flues. So people need to be more vigilant to save themselves.

People need to understand that the virus is very much here and is remerging in different and tricky variants and despite the massive vaccination drive, it is going to stay and therefore following the SOPs is the only way to defeat it. At the moment, as per official records, out of daily positive cases, larger number is reported in Srinagar district alone. It is therefore necessary that people in Srinagar remain extra cautious to ensure that the place, God forbid, is not hit by the third wave. People need to adopt Covid-19 SOPs as a new normal because nothing will change immediately. Despite the vaccination drive, the virus is not going to vanish overnight and therefore taking extreme precautions is the only way to ensure safety from this invisible enemy. It is every individual’s responsibility to ensure that he/she helps in breaking the chain of infection and that is possible only if everyone adheres to ongoing SOPs. People have to behave as responsible citizens and understand that one who doesn’t follow the guidelines is doing utmost disservice to his/her own self, family and the society at large.

People of Kashmir have to understand that winters are the worst times for every kind of flue and therefore they have to take extra precautions to ensure that all the Covid-19 related guidelines are followed. While the authorities have launched vaccination drive for the children in the age group of 15-18 too besides for all above 18, the SOPs still remain the only measure to defeat the virus.  People should not become complacent as the medical experts are continuously suggesting that even after getting vaccinated, following of SOPs is a must. Wearing masks, maintaining social distance and washing hands frequently are the new norms and people should prepare themselves to follow these for a longer period and it is peoples’ attitude that would help to keep this place safe from the new Omicron variant.

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