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LG launches Covid vaccination drive for 15-18 age group

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Requests ‘young friends’ to get vaccinated

Jammu: Lt Governor Manoj Sinha launched the COVID-19 vaccination drive for beneficiaries in the 15-18 age group from a government school here on Monday, expressing confidence about completing the inoculation of the targeted 8.33 lakh population across the Union Territory in a week.

The drive, a part of the national campaign against the Covid pandemic, generated hope among the students of class 9-11 as well as their teachers about resumption of their normal schooling which was badly hit by the disease since its outbreak in early 2020.

“As the inoculation drive for the children aged between 15 and 18 years started across the country, it has also launched in Jammu and Kashmir. In the coming week, the targeted population (8.33 lakh) will be vaccinated,” the LG told reporters after launching the vaccination drive from the Government Higher Secondary School for boys in Gandhi Nagar here.

“Vaccination is a critical tool to help stop the Covid pandemic. My humble request to the young friends to get vaccinated,” said the LG.

“Don’t be complacent after getting vaccinated. It’s crucial to continue following COVID protocols and guidelines,” he added.

The LG also asked the health officials to keep the vaccinated children under mandatory observation period.

An official press release said that the J&K government has made all preparations for the smooth administering of Covid vaccine to the 15-18 age group.  A robust action plan has been prepared for the vaccination drive starting from today.

The COVID-19 vaccination drive for the children in the 15-18 years age group will be carried out across the Union Territory. Online & walk-in registration, besides other required facilities are made at the vaccination centres, it said, adding that the School Education department has also been asked to encourage the children to get vaccinated.

Lauding the contribution of the medical fraternity, including doctors and nurses, in the fight against the pandemic, Sinha said five districts, among a total of 20, have already registered 100 percent vaccination of the targeted population.

“The government has assured 70 percent doses (for the children) and the rest will be provided shortly. We are concerned about the completion of the process within the stipulated time,” Sinha said.

Referring to the high-level meeting chaired by him to review the COVID-19 status, Omicron and preparedness of health infrastructure here on Sunday, the LG said the meeting was convened in the wake of increase in the cases of Omicron variant in the country.

“We are keeping our preparations ready. So far, we are saved from this (Omicron) threat,” he said, adding “our effort is to provide the best possible (medical) services to the people”.

As many as 822 vaccination sites have been set up across 20 districts for the vaccination of the children, officials said, appealing to the youngsters to come forward and get themselves vaccinated.

The officials said hundreds of teenagers, who had registered for the first dose through various modes, turned up to receive the shot.

Special vaccination centres have been established in government schools and private coaching centres as well to cover the intended age group of individuals, they said.

Later in a tweet, the LG said, “COVID-19 vaccination starts for children aged 15-18 years in J&K. My humble request to the young friends to get vaccinated. Vaccination is a critical tool to help stop the pandemic.”

The teenagers, who have turned up to get the first shot of COVID-19 vaccine, were excited and expressed a hope to get back to their schools soon.

“I was waiting for the day to get my dose of the vaccine as the pandemic forced us to stay back at our homes most of the time over the past nearly two years. We want to get back to the school as soon as possible,” Harmanjot Singh, a student of Class 11 of a private school, said.

Principal of Jodhamal School Deep Khare said the response to the special camp organised at the school for the vaccination of the students was encouraging.

“There was no apprehension in the mind of the student or their parents. Everyone was waiting for this vaccination drive and not a single parent raised any concern,” he said.

Khare said there are 550 students of 15-18 age group and some of the students who are outside the station due to ongoing winter vacation will be inoculated later.

“The government has made the vaccination very easy and we believe it will be a game changer for resuming offline classes. After vaccination, the students can attend their classes without any fear and we are expecting to resume the offline classes for students of 9-11 classes shortly,” he said.

On December 25, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the inclusion of the 15 to 18 age group in the nationwide Covid immunisation programme from January 3.

Eligible teenagers will be administered Covaxin as it is the only vaccine with Emergency Use Listing (EUL) for the 15-18 age group, and it is also recommended by the ‘COVID-19 Working Group’ of the National Technical Advisory Group on immunisation.

The children taking the vaccine were kept under observation for 30 minutes and would be given the second dose after 28 days.

Parents accompanying their children also expressed satisfaction over the drive and possible resumption of offline classes. (With PTI inputs)

Bhardwaj kick-starts vaccination drive for children in Kashmir; over 22,000 dozes administered on day one

Additional Chief Secretary, Health & Medical Education, Vivek Bhardwaj on Monday kick-started vaccination drive for children between 15 to 18 years in Kashmir division at Government Girls Higher Secondary School, Kothi Bagh, Srinagar.

Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Muhammad Aijaz Assad, Director Health Services Kashmir (DHSK), Dr Mushtaq Ahmad Rather, Director School Education Kashmir, Tasaduq Hussian, CMO Srinagar, DHO Srinagar besides other concerned officials of Health and Education departments were present at the event.

Speaking on the occasion, the Additional Chief Secretary said that there is an estimated target of more than 8 lakh children who are scheduled to be inoculated in the vaccination drive at 308 vaccination sites in Jammu division and 514 in Kashmir division.

According to an official press release, he said that the vaccination drive for children is very important in order to contain the spread of Covid-19 and expressed hope that the Union government will keep stock of vaccines available for us so that this process can be completed as soon as possible.

The Additional Chief Secretary said that the Health and Medical Education department has made elaborative preparations.

He said they recently held a meeting during which a strategy was chalked out in association with the School Education department and District Administration Srinagar so that they are able to identify children and sites for the vaccination drive.

“We have already received nearly 3 lakh vaccines. We are hopeful that we will complete the fresh vaccination drive within a short period of time. We will soon achieve the vaccination target,” he said.

The Additional Chief Secretary also said the administration is fully prepared to tackle any eventuality as number of beds including ICU, ventilators have been increased by many times besides that oxygen supply has been increased by 10 times.

On the occasion, Director Health Services Kashmir (DHSK), Dr Mushtaq Ahmad Rather said vaccination for children between 15 to 18 years will keep the children safe. He appealed the children to get vaccinated to protect themselves.

Detailing out the importance and benefits of the program, the director said he has already given strict direction to the staff of the health department to be proactive and ensure in making this national initiative a grand success.

Later, the director visited many vaccination sites. He also inaugurated a vaccination site at Kashmir Institute of Excellence (KIE).

Meanwhile, on the first day of the inoculation drive, 22,905 children between 15 to 18 years age group were administered the first dose at 1172 session sites across Kashmir Valley, the press release informed.

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