Odisha Braces Up For Vaccinating Children

Bhubaneswar: Odisha government is gearing up to vaccinate children and teens against COVID-19 once the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) gives a go-ahead for the vaccines.

As part of its government’s preparations, a training session of Health Department officials on vaccination of children will be held through virtual mode from Friday. This will be implemented at the district level too, said Bijay Panigrahi, Director, Health and Family Welfare.

The state government has earlier stated that it is ready to roll out vaccines for children in the 2 to 18 age group at short notice after the Centre issues guidelines for the same. There are around 1.4 crore children in Odisha in this age group.

Speaking to mediapersons, Panigrahi said the Centre will be impart training on vaccination to health officials on virtual mode and the same will be passed on to officials at district-level. Besides Covaxin, children of the age group will be given Zydus Cadila’s needle-free COVID-19 vaccine ZyCoV-D and training on the same will also be given.

So far, only subject expert committee has issued recommendation for Covaxin but post DCGI approval vaccination would begin as per guidelines, he added.

However, there are no clear guidelines as to which age group children will be given the vaccine first. “It hasn’t been clarified yet whether everyone in 2-18 years group will be given vaccine dose,” Panigrahi added.

Vaccination centres will increase once this is approved, the Family Welfare Director said.

He further informed that 2.46 crore people administered with the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in Odisha, which is 76 per cent of the eligible beneficiaries in the state, Panigrahi said.

Similarly, 1.02 crore have been administered both the shots. The state has so far administered 3.48 crore vaccine doses. “Currently, we have 24 lakh vaccines in stock. Around 24 lakh people have not yet taken the second dose even after their due date,” he added.

On the other hand, the Health department said coronavirus has not increased so much after the festival as was feared. The situation is not worsening, the possibility of third wave is less, said the health officials.

The third wave chances are very less but people should follow COVID protocol even as all businesses are opening and normalcy is returning, said the officials.

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