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NEW DELHI : The Union health ministry on Monday issued guidelines for covid-19 vaccination of children between 15 and 18 years of age and precaution doses for healthcare workers (HCWs), frontline workers (FLWs) and people who are 60 or older with comorbidities.

While children between 15 and 18 will receive Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, the government has not yet said whether the other eligible beneficiaries will be allowed to receive a different vaccine as their additional shot.

The government said that keeping in view the recent global surge in covid cases, the detection of the Omicron variant, which has been categorized as a variant of concern (VOC), scientific evidence, global practices and the inputs and suggestions of the covid working group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) as well as of Standing Technical Scientific Committee (STSC) of NTAGI, it has been decided to further refine the scientific prioritization and coverage of covid-19 vaccination.

“Covid vaccination of children in the age group of 15-18 years to be started from 3 January 2022. For such beneficiaries, vaccination option would be Covaxin only. The government said that as a matter of abundant precaution, for those healthcare workers (HCWs) and Frontline workers (FLWs) who have received two doses, another dose of covid-19 vaccine would be provided from 10 January 2022," the guidelines said.

“The prioritization and sequencing of this precaution dose would be based on the completion of 9 months i.e. 39 weeks from the date of administration of second dose. All persons aged 60 years and above with comorbidities who have received two doses, will on the doctor’s advice be provided with a booster dose from 10 January," the health ministry guidelines said. 

According to the guidelines, all HCWs, FLWs and citizens aged 60 years or above with comorbidities will be able to access the precaution dose through their existing Co-WIN account.

The eligibility of such beneficiaries for the precaution dose will be based on the date of administration of the second dose as recorded in the Co-WIN system, the guidelines said.

The Co-WIN system will send an SMS to such beneficiaries for availing the precaution dose when the dose becomes due. The registration and appointment services can be accessed through both, the online and the onsite modes. Further, the details of administration of the precaution dose will be suitably reflected in the vaccination certificates. 

All those aged 15 years or more, according to the guidelines, will be able to register on Co-WIN. In other words, all those whose birth year is 2007 or before shall be eligible.

The beneficiaries can self-register online through an existing account on Co-WIN or can also register by creating a new account through a unique mobile number; this facility is available for all eligible citizens presently.

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