India will start vaccinating children between the ages of 15 to 18 from January 3 next year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in a sudden address to the nation tonight.
Healthcare and frontline workers will be provided with “precautionary doses” from January 10 next year, he added.
People above 60 years of age who have co-morbidities will also have the option to take the booster dose on a recommendation from doctors. This will also start from January 10.
The Prime Minister said that as people prepare to welcome the new year with hope and celebration, it’s also a time to be careful as the highly contagious Omicron variant is rapidly pushing up Covid infections.
He appealed to the people not to panic but be careful and alert. “Use masks and wash hands regularly,” he said.
PM Modi assured the citizens that all possible preparations are in order to tackle increasing infections. He listed the number of hospital beds, oxygen beds available, and vaccination progress.
“Covid isn’t past us yet. Being careful is very important,” he said.
“Today, the nation has 18 lakh isolation beds, 5 lakh oxygen-supported beds, 1.4 lakh ICU beds, and 90,000 special beds for children. Today, we have over 3,000 functional PSA Oxygen plants and 4 lakh Oxygen cylinders have been provided to all states,” he said.
“Apart from research on the vaccine, we were also working on approval processes, supply chains, distribution, training, IT support system, and certification. With these efforts, India started vaccinating its citizens on January 16 this year,” he said.
“Today, more than 61 percent of India’s adult population has received both doses of the vaccine. Similarly, about 90 percent of the adult population has been given a single dose of the vaccine,” he said.