New Delhi : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday announced the beginning of a major vaccination drive after the New Year for children above 15 years and booster doses to vulnerable sections of the population such as the elderly with co-morbidities and frontline healthcare workers. The Prime Minister especially addressed the nation to announce these three initiatives – vaccination for those between 15 and 18 years from January 3 and, ‘precautionary doses’ for all frontline health workers from January 10 and the elderly with comorbidities based on a doctor’s prescription, also on the same day. The Prime Minister also said work was on to produce nasal and DNA vaccines.
The Prime Minister began his address by pointing out that this was the time to remain alert as many countries were experiencing a rise in infections due to new variants of Covid. In India too, though Omicron infections have been reported, the Prime Minister called on the people not to panic but said precautionary practices such as wearing masks and frequently washing hands were the need of the hour.
The country is fully prepared to deal with the infections, PM Modi assured. India has 18 lakh isolation beds, five lakh oxygen supported beds and 1.40 lakh ICU beds. If all ICU and non-ICU beds are added, there are 90,000 especially for children. Over 3,000 oxygen plants have been set up and four lakh oxygen cylinders distributed all over the country.
If following precautions at the individual level was one weapon in the fight against Corona, the second, d is vaccination. “Our country, understanding the seriousness, had very early on started work on vaccines. Because of these preparations, 61 per cent of India’s adult population has got both doses and about 90 per cent has got one vaccine dose. Indian scientists, he assured, are keeping a close eye on Omicron’s mutation and are ready to rise to the challenge, he said.