The COVID vaccination drive among adolescents between 15 and 18 years of age, launched by the Assam health department on January 3, is set to pick up pace by mid-February once all educational institutions reopen in the state.
As it is, in about a month's time since the launch of the campaign, over 8.81 lakh adolescents have received the first jabs so far in Assam and the state health department has, over the past couple of days, also embarked on administering the second dose to the teenage beneficiaries who were due for it.
"Till date, 8, 81, 772 teenagers in the age group of 15-17 years have been vaccinated with the first dose of Covaxin," Assam nodal officer of COVID-19 vaccination, Munindra Nath Ngatey said on Wednesday. Covaxin has an interval of 28 days between the two doses to complete the primary vaccination schedule Hence, all adolescents in the age group who received the first dose on January 3, 2022, became eligible for the second dose from January 31, 2022.
"We have already vaccinated about 9000 teenagers in this specific age group in the past two days. Once the schools reopen, the pace of vaccination will pick up," Ngatey said.
The Assam government has set a target of vaccinating 20 lakh teenagers with both doses by the first half of March so that they can appear for the offline board and other examsThe Assam government has set a target of vaccinating 20 lakh teenagers with both doses by the first half of March so that they can appear for the offline board and other exams.
Meanwhile, the secretary to the Union health and family welfare ministry, Rajesh Bhushan, has written to the secretaries, principal secretaries and additional chief secretaries of the health departments all states and Union Territories, directing the officials to accelerate the second dose coverage amongst due beneficiaries aged 15-18 years, while ensuring that the remaining beneficiaries for the first dose also get the jabs on time.
"It is important that the coverage of the second dose amongst adolescents is reviewed daily at your level at State/UT and similar review is undertaken at the district level as well. Data regarding due beneficiaries of 15-18 years age group for second dose can be accessed on Co-WIN portal," Bhushan wrote to the officials.
"A tailored communication strategy, focused on the adolescent population and their caregivers, should also be rolled out to make them aware about the timely completion of vaccination schedules and sustain their vaccine confidence," he stated in the letter.