Deccan Chronicle

Over 40 lakh children receive Covid-19 vaccine on first day

Parents heave a sigh of relief; PM, Mandaviya congratula­te ‘young India’


New Delhi/Mumbai/Jammu, Jan. 3: As India launched a Covid-19 vaccinatio­n drive for the

15-18 age group on Monday, over 40 lakh children received their first dose with many of the beneficiar­ies and their parents saying they feel a sense of relief, especially in the backdrop of the fresh rise in cases.

From setting up attractive selfie points to putting up imaginativ­e posters and colourful balloons, the designated vaccinatio­n centres, mostly schools and educationa­l institutes, were decked up to welcome the youngsters.

The children, some dressed in school uniforms and others in casuals, were greeted with flowers and were gifted pens and eatables at some places after receiving the vaccine.

“Well done Young India! Over 40 Lakhs between

15-18 age group received their first dose of

#COVID19 vaccine on the

1st day of vaccinatio­n drive for children, till 8 PM. This is another feather in the cap of India’s vaccinatio­n drive,” Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said in a tweet. (sic)

Over 51 lakh youngsters had registered on the CoWIN portal till Monday

8.30 pm after the process started on January 1. An estimated 7.4 crore children are there in this age group.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India has taken an important step forward in protecting its youth population

against the disease.

“Congrats to all my young friends between the age group of 15-18 who got vaccinated. Congrats to their parents as well. I would urge more youngsters to get vaccinated in the coming days!” he said on Twitter.

The vaccinatio­n campaign started on January 16 last year in a staggered manner, and many youngsters like Harmanjot Singh said they were keen to get the jab as soon as it was allowed for their age group.

“I was waiting for the day to get my dose of the vaccine as the pandemic

forced us to stay at our homes most of the time. We want to get back to regular school and other activities as soon as possible,” said Singh, a student of class 11 at a private school in Jammu.

With the drive starting mostly from schools, many principals and other officials said they received a positive response from students and their families.

“Whenever schools reopened in the midst of the pandemic, I was hesitant to send my son. It will be a relief now that he has received the vaccine,” said Savita Devi, whose son

was waiting to get the jab at a Delhi government school.

Some students referred to restrictio­ns on travelling and said they did not want to miss out on activities because they are not vaccinated.

“This was long-awaited. The third wave is already here and considerin­g how aggressive the second wave was, we were all afraid,” said Ritesh Ghosh, a 17-year-old student.

But there were some like Diksha Patel, 17, from Raipur in Chhattisga­rh who required some counsellin­g from her family

and friends to overcome hesitancy.

“On Sunday, our class teacher posted a message on our WhatsApp group about coming to school and getting vaccinated. I was worried as many of my family members fell ill after taking the vaccine during the second wave in April and May last year,” Patel, a class 9 student of JR Dani Government High School, said.

“However, my mother and other family members spoke to me about the benefits of vaccinatio­n, especially in view of rising cases and a possible third wave,” she said. —

 ?? RAJESH JADHAV ?? A girl student was the first to receive the vaccine dose at a jumbo Covid-19 centre in the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) in Mumbai on Monday. —
RAJESH JADHAV A girl student was the first to receive the vaccine dose at a jumbo Covid-19 centre in the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) in Mumbai on Monday. —

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