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Guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination of children, precaution doses

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India’s National COVID Vaccination Program is built on scientific and epidemiological evidence, WHO guidelines and global best practices.

COVID vaccination in the country commenced with vaccination to all Health Care

Workers. The program was expanded with time to include vaccination of Front Line Workers, citizens more than 60 years of age, citizens more than 45 years of age, and eventually citizens more than 18 years of age.

Under the National COVID Vaccination Program, from 16th January to 30th April 2021, 100% of vaccine doses were procured by Government of India and provided free of

cost to State Governments. State Governments were in turn to administer vaccination free of cost to defined priority groups. To increase the pace of vaccination, participation of private hospitals was also enlisted where individuals could also choose to get vaccinated at a prescribed rate.

All citizens irrespective of their income status have all along been entitled to a free vaccination. Those who have the ability to pay are encouraged to use private hospital’s vaccination centres.

Keeping in view the recent global surge of COVID-19 cases, detection of Omicron a variant which has been categorized as a Variant of Concern (VOC), scientific evidence, global practices and the inputs/suggestions of ‘COVID-19 Working Group of National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI)’ as well as of ‘Standing Technical Scientific Committee (STSC)’ of NTAGI it has now been decided to further refine the scientific prioritization & coverage of COVID-19 vaccination as follows:

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1. COVID-19 Vaccination of children in the age-group of 15-18 years to be started from 3rd January 2022. For such beneficiaries, vaccination option would be “Covaxin” only.

2. As a matter of abundant precaution, for those Health Care Workers (HCWs) & Front Line Workers (FLWs) who have received two doses, another dose of COVID-19 vaccine would be provided from 10th January 2022. 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 2nd dose.

3. All persons aged 60 years and above with comorbidities who have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, will on Doctor’s advice be provided with a

4 precaution dose from 10th January 2022. 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 citizens irrespective of their income status are entitled to free COVID-19 vaccination at Govt. Vaccination Centres. Those who have the ability to pay are encouraged to use Private Hospitals’ Vaccination Centres.

Co-WIN features and provisions:

1. HCWs, FLWs and Citizens 60+ with co-morbidities:

a. All HCWs, FLWs and citizens aged 60 years or above with comorbidities will be able to access the vaccination for precaution dose through their existing

Co-WIN account.

b. Eligibility of such beneficiaries for the precaution dose will be based on the date of administration of 2nd dose as recorded in the Co-WIN system.

c. Co-WIN system will send SMS to such beneficiaries for availing the precaution dose when the dose becomes due.

d. Registration and appointment services can be accessed through both, the online and the onsite modes.

e. The details of administration of the precaution dose will be suitably reflected in the vaccination certificates.

2. New beneficiaries aged 15-18 years:

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

b. 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.

c. Such beneficiaries can also be registered onsite by the verifier/vaccinator in facilitated registration mode.

d. Appointments can be booked online or onsite (walk-in).

e. For such beneficiaries, option for vaccination would only be available for Covaxin as this is the only vaccine with EUL for the age-group 15-17.

These Guidelines will come into effect from 3rd January 2022 & will be reviewed from time to time.

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