Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editor: Sandeep Suman
In a late-night address to the nation on Saturday, 25 December, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that children aged 15-18 can now avail the COVID-19 vaccine, beginning 3 January.
Further, he announced that healthcare and frontline workers would be able to avail the booster dose of the vaccine from 10 January.
"Precaution dose of the vaccine will also be started for healthcare and frontline workers. It will be started in 2022, on Monday, 10 January," the PM announced.
"Citizens above 60 years of age with co-morbidities will also have the option of precaution dose of the vaccine on the advice of their doctor. This will also be available from 10 January," Modi announced.
The decisions come at a time when the country is witnessing a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases, amid the global spread of the highly-transmissible Omicron variant.
India recorded 7,189 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours. The tally of total Omicron cases in India stands at 415, as of Saturday.
What Else Did PM Modi Say?
Observing that COVID-19 is rising globally, the prime minister said that appropriate precautions need to be taken.
"In India, too, many people have been found to be infected with Omicron. I would urge all of you not to panic, be careful and alert. Masks and washing hands occasionally, remember these things," the prime minister stated.
"The experience of fighting the coronavirus global epidemic so far shows that following all the guidelines at the individual level is a great weapon to combat coronavirus," he said.
"India started giving the vaccine to its citizens from 16 January this year. It is the collective effort and collective will of all the citizens of the country that today India has crossed the unprecedented and very difficult target of 141 crore vaccine doses," the prime minister 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 received a single dose of the vaccine," Modi said.
The country has 18 lakh isolation beds, 5 lakh isolation supported beds, and 1,40,000 ICU beds, he informed the nation.