Tribune News Service
Shimla, December 29
Himachal will require just about two weeks to vaccinate all children in the 15-18 age group. “There are around 4.5 lakh children in this category and we are aiming to inoculate all of them by January 15,” said Rajiv Saizal, Minister for Health and Family Welfare. “Children will be vaccinated at schools. We have spoken to the Education Department, and the SOPs are being drafted for the purpose,” he added.
January 15 the target
Children will be vaccinated at schools by January 15. We have spoken to the Education Department and SOPs are being drafted for the purpose — Rajiv Saizal, Health Minister
Meanwhile, the Higher Education Department has directed its deputy directors in all districts to coordinate with the health authorities for the campaign.
“The vaccination drive will start on January 3, and the state already has 2.80 lakh doses for the purpose. The children will be administered Covaxin. However, it’s still not clear which vaccine will be used to give the booster dose to people aged 60 and above,” the minister said.
“The booster dose will be administered to the elderly, and front line and health workers from January 10. The state has been given Covishield to inoculate all 18 plus beneficiaries. Eligible children can be called to take the vaccine at places where the schools have closed for the winter vacation,” said Saizal.
As for the threat posed by the omicron variant, he said that the state was fully prepared to handle any situation. “We are fully prepared to tackle the spread of omicron or the third wave. At present, we have 41 PSA oxygen plants, 1,000 ventilators, and around 10,000 beds. We have adequate equipment, manpower and medicines to deal with the challenge,” he said.
While Covid restrictions are gradually being reimposed in neighbouring states, the state government is yet to start discussing re-imposition of curbs. “We have had just one case of omicron so far, and that woman has also turned negative. The number of active cases is going down day by day. So, there’s no reason to hit the panic button. But, yes, if the number of cases rises in future, the government is ready to take whatever measures are required,” he added.