Jabs for 15-18 teens begin today; India\'s COVID-19 cases jump 21 per cent

Supreme Court switch to virtual hearings for two weeks

By :  sanjay kaw
Update: 2022-01-03 03:01 GMT
A health worker shows Covaxin vial during preparation for 15-18 age group vaccination drive, in Patna, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022. (PTI Photo)

New Delhi: Alarmed over a 21 per cent jump in India’s Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Sunday reiterated that the mantra of “Test, Track, Treat, Vaccinate”, and Covid-appropriate behaviour, was the only way to deal with the resurgent virus and to check its further spread.

On the vaccination front, all children aged between 15 and 18 years will get their first Covid-19 vaccine from Monday. Of around 75 million children in this age group, about 6.35 lakh have registered themselves on the CoWIN app for their first jab.

The health minister has asked the states and UTs to take the necessary measures, including setting up of separate vaccination centres, to avoid mixing-up of Covid-19 vaccines during administration of shots to the 15-18 age group. So far, Covaxin is the only Covid-19 vaccine approved for children.

Mumbai and Delhi are now reporting the most Covid-19 cases among the major metropolises.

Under the Graded Response Action Plan, approved by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority, if the positivity rate is over five per cent for two consecutive days, a “red” alert can be sounded, which would lead to a total curfew and a halt to most economic activities.

In view of the sharp rise in Covid-19 cases, the Supreme Court has decided to conduct all hearings in virtual mode for two weeks from Monday. The court administration issued a circular announcing this on Sunday evening. It said an earlier circular prescribing the standard operating procedure (SOP) for physical hearings (hybrid hearings) will remain suspended for the time being.

The Centre will hold a series of webinars from January 5 to 19 on clinical management of Covid-19 cases in collaboration with Delhi’s AIIMS to minimise the mortality rate due to the virus.  Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan has urged all state-level Centres of Excellence (CoEs) and doctors in public and private district-level Covid-19 health facilities along with CDMOs and in-charges of treatment facilities to attend these webinars.

On vaccinations for the adult population, they are being administered Covaxin, Covishield and Sputnik V. To ensure smooth implementation of the guidelines, Mr Mandaviya held an online interaction with the health ministers and principal secretaries and additional chief secretaries for health of states and UTs. He advised them to ensure the orientation of vaccinators and vaccination teams for the inoculation exercise for children and for identification of dedicated vaccination session sites for them. Mr Mandaviya said: “To avoid the mixing-up of vaccines, separate Covid vaccination centres (CVCs), separate session sites, separate queues (if at the same session where adult vaccination is going on) and separate vaccination teams (if at the same session site) are to be strived for.”

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