India expanded Covid vaccination to teens aged 15-18 on Monday after authorities tightened regulations in big cities to avoid repeated catastrophic outbreaks last year.
Over 200,000 people across India have died in the huge spring Covid waves that overwhelm hospitals and crematoriums.
Healthcare workers have been vaccinated more than 1.4 billion times since then, but less than half of India’s population is fully vaccinated, according to government data.
Hundreds of teenagers patiently lined up with their parents outside of school on Monday morning to become a temporary medical center in the capital, New Delhi.
“It’s really great to get the first vaccine,” said 16-year-old Soumadeep after receiving the first dose of Indian-made cobaxin.
“It’s like a New Year’s gift for children.”
Authorities have been plagued by the arrival of variants of the Omicron coronavirus and the sudden increase in daily infections, and last week some of India’s largest urban areas imposed new restrictions.
Bangalore in New Delhi and Tech Hub are curfewed every night from 10 pm, and bars and restaurants in both cities are ordered to operate at half the capacity.
Mumbai, India’s commercial capital, banned rallies of four or more and limited weddings to 50 from 9 pm to 6 am.
Last year’s wave of Delta variants was hit by Kumbh Mela, one of the world’s largest religious rallies, attracting about 25 million Hindu pilgrims.
The festival, along with a large state election rally, was blamed by experts for promoting the surge.
India has the second highest number of cases in the world, with nearly 35 million confirmed infections.
Its 481,000 known Covid deaths are the third highest after tolls in the United States and Brazil.
However, underreporting is widespread, and some studies estimate that India’s actual tolls can be up to 10 times higher.
India will begin rolling out booster immune vaccines for people over the age of 60 starting next Monday.
Despite the record increase in infectious diseases worldwide, the outbreak of Omicron has not seen a dramatic increase in hospitalization and expects this variant to be less severe than other strains. ..
http://www.gulf-times.com/story/707342/India-begins-vaccinating-teens-as-Omicron-fears-ri India begins vaccination of teens amid growing fear of Omicron