India may begin inoculating children in the age group 12-14 against COVID-19 in March, Dr NK Arora, Chairman of the COVID-19 Working Group of National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) said on Monday, 17 January, according to news agency PTI.
This will be possible as children in the 15-18 age group are likely to be fully vaccinated by then, Dr Arora said.
Since the beginning of the vaccination drive for the 15 to 18 age group on 3 January, over 3.5 crore teens have been vaccinated with the first dose of Covaxin so far. As per an estimation, there are around 7.4 crore teens in this age bracket in India to whom vaccine shots will be administered.
Speaking to Moneycontrol, Dr Arora said that India aims to give all the adolescents in this age bracket the first dose by January-end so as to finish administering the second dose by February-end.
Once this age bracket is covered, the government is likely to take a policy decision in order to begin the vaccination drive for the 12-14 age group in March, the top scientist added, according to PTI.
Dr Arora said that there is an estimated 7.5 crore population in the 12-14 age group.
While vaccinating children in the age group 15-18, India has also begun administering the precaution dose to healthcare, frontline workers and those aged 60 and above with comorbidities from 10 January.
Amid the surge in COVID-19 cases across the country, India reported 2,58,089 new infections (13,113 cases less than the previous day), 385 deaths, and 1,51,740 recoveries on Monday.
The number of active cases stands at 16,56,341. Meanwhile, a total of 8,209 cases of the Omicron variant have been reported so far.
(With inputs from PTI and Moneycontrol.)