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NEW DELHI : The central government on Tuesday said it will supply sufficient doses of Covaxin for the inoculation of 15-18 year olds, starting 3 January. 

The covid-19 vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech will be the only option for teenagers, according to the government’s vaccination policy. 

The Centre advised states and Union territories to focus on training vaccinators for the 15-18 year olds and identifying dedicated sites for them to ensure the vaccines do not get mixed-up during administration. Separate covid-19 vaccination centres  separate session sites, separate queues and separate vaccination teams are to be strived for, it added. 

States were also directed to put in place a plan for the distribution of Covaxin to ensure minimum wastage.

Rajesh Bhushan, the Union health secretary, chaired a virtual workshop with state and UT representatives to review the roll out of vaccination for 15-18 year-olds, and a precautionary dose for front line and healthcare workers and senior citizens with comorbidities. 

“States and UTs were also advised to share their requirement of vaccine doses through district-wise estimation of beneficiaries using Co-WIN. They are to publicize sessions where vaccination will be available for 15-18 year olds," the Union health ministry said. 

Potential beneficiaries can either register themselves on Co-WIN from 1 January or opt for walk-in registration when vaccination starts. Children born before 2008 will be eligible for vaccination. “All established protocols must be followed for the 15-18 years age group; beneficiaries must wait for half-an-hour after immunization when they will be monitored for adverse effects and will be eligible for the second dose only after 28 days," said Bhushan. States must assign some vaccination sites exclusively for the teenagers, which must reflect on Co-WIN. 

Senior citizens who completed nine months (39 weeks) of the second dose will be eligible for the precautionary dose, he said. Refuting claims made in some news reports regarding the requirement of a doctor’s certificate to establish comorbidity, Bhalla said the government has not mandated any such move. 

He said reminders will be sent via the CoWIN platform to those who are eligible for the precautionary doses, and the third dose will be reflected in the digital vaccination certificates. 

The Centre on Tuesday also approved two more vaccines, Corbevax and Covovax, and  an anti-viral drug, molnupiravir, for treating covid-19 patients. Corbevax is India’s first indigenously developed RBD protein sub-unit vaccine against covid, developed by Biological-E. The two-dose vaccine must be administered 28 days apart. The nanoparticle vaccine, Covovax, will be manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute of India. The vaccine has a two-dose schedule of day 0 and 21. Molnupiravir will be manufactured by 13 companies in India. 

Meanwhile, vaccine coverage crossed the 1,43 billion doses mark on Tuesday. So far, 653 cases of Omicron have been detected in the country.

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