Centre on Thursday regarding vaccinating children against COVID said that it is not a criterion for reopening schools. Further, it was also added that no scientific body, epidemiological evidence can suggest it as a condition.
Officials also added India is undergoing the second wave of coronavirus, and it is not over for the country yet.
In 35 districts in the country, the officials said a weekly Covid-19 positivity rate is over 10%, while it is between five to 10% in 30 districts.
In the light of the occasion, Dr VK Paul, Member-Health of Niti Aayog, while addressing a press conference regarding the COVID-19 situation in the country, said, “vaccinating the children cannot be a definite condition for reopening of the schools. It is is not acceptable anywhere, with no backing of scientific body. Also, epidemiological evidence suggests that it is a specific condition... However, also the vaccination of the staff is desirable”
On Thursday, a Niti Aayog, Dr VK Paul, said that vaccinating children was not a condition for reopening schools. He further added that this criterion was not acceptable anywhere in the world. This response by the Niti Aayog member comes amid demands to safeguard the vaccination of children before the reopening of schools in India.
In this regard, Dr VK Paul also added that the government is vehemently and "actively working" toward scientific validation of the vaccines for their potential use in children. He said, "Only a few nations have introduced vaccination for children, no WHO recommendation for it...Govt is working actively in direction of scientific validation of our vaccines for potential use in children. Zydus vaccine already licensed for children."
Additionally, Dr Paul noted about 72 crore vaccine doses had been administered in the country so far. "It's clear that two doses show complete protection, 58% above 18 years given single dose, it should be 100%. No one should be left behind...About 72 crore vaccine doses given, those left should get administered to develop herd immunity," he Dr Paul.
On the other hand, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that the pace of vaccination and its coverage in the country is "rapidly increasing". Mr Bhushan said that the average per-day dose administered in the country has increased from 20 lakhs in May to over 78 lakhs in September. This number is further expected to increase, according to him.
The Union Health Secretary said, "We have administered more vaccines in first 7 days of Sept than in 30 days of May. 86 lakh doses administered in last 24 hours. We should increase pace of vaccination before festivals. States & Centre should work to vaccinate vulnerable population."
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) recommended a "low-key" celebration of festivals to avoid spreading the deadly infection. Dr Balram Bhargava of ICMR suggested practicing responsible travel instead of revenge travel.
Dr Bhargava of ICMR also added, "We are developing a good vaccine tracker for COVID-19 equipped with synergized data that will provide us with weekly updates. The data will update on the website of the Health Ministry soon."
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