India to use only Covaxin shot to those aged 15 to 18 FILE PHOTO: A health worker prepares a dose of Covaxin vaccine against the Covid-19 coronavirus during a door-to-door vaccination drive in Mumbai on August 5, 2021. (Photo by PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP via Getty Images)
INDIAN health ministry has said that Bharat Biotech’s Covid-19 vaccine, Covaxin, will be the only shot available to children aged 15 to 18 when inoculation begins for them from next Monday (3).
“This (Covaxin) is the only vaccine with emergency use listing for the age-group 15-18,” said the guidelines released by the ministry.
Covid-19 infections are decreasing in India, with 6,642 new cases reported on average each day. That represents 2 per cent of the highest daily average reported on May 9. There have been 34.8 million infections and nearly 480,000 coronavirus-related deaths reported in the country since the pandemic began.
However, India has reported a swift rise in Omicron cases, with the number of overall infections crossing 400 across 17 states.
Prime minister Narendra Modi’s government has been accelerating its vaccination campaign, administering at least one dose to 90 per cent of the eligible 944 million population, while 62 per cent have taken both doses.
As millions still await second shots, the authorities will now start offering booster shots to healthcare and frontline workers, who suffered from an overwhelming second wave of the virus in the summer that killed tens of thousands.
Medical experts have said India needs to double down on its vaccination campaign and expand coverage to avert another possible surge in infections particularly in the vast hinterlands where healthcare facilities are sparse.
Modi has urged citizens to continue to wear facemasks and follow other Covid-19 protocols.
The federal government has also urged states to impose curbs on overcrowding in the festive season until the new year and a few states have partially banned public celebrations.