Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has now decided to organise vaccine camps at the junior colleges to vaccinate children between 15-18 years of age, following which they have started to approach colleges. For now, the civic body has 400 covid vaccine centres which they will use when demands of vaccination increase and then camps will also be organised at schools. Civic officials said they are waiting for the centre's guidelines to start vaccination for children and accordingly they will execute their plan.
According to officials, there are nearly 9 lakh children in the 15-18 years age category. The civic body said that even with the current infrastructure it can speed up the vaccination drive. However, the pace will depend on the availability of vaccines. In Mumbai, there are nearly 400 vaccination centres including government and private ones.
“We are prepared with the required infrastructure for vaccination of children. Once guidelines are issued, we will get to know whether any change is needed in the current setup. We have decided to take up special camps in junior colleges for vaccinating children. If we get a good quantity of vaccines then all centres will be activated but in case of less quantity, few centres will be started,” said Suresh Kakani, Additional Municipal Commissioner.
Kakani further said they have also asked the Mumbai University vice-chancellor and registrar to prepare a list of colleges and the number of students.
Meanwhile, the civic body is awaiting the Union government’s guidelines for ‘precautionary dose’ or booster for health and frontline workers. “There are 13 lakh beneficiaries which include FLWs, HCWs and senior citizens with comorbidities for the precautionary doses. We have all the resources and after guidelines come, the drive can be started,” said an official from the public health department.
However, speculation is that Covishield or Covaxin are unlikely to be used as boosters. A senior health official said that there is a good possibility that Covovax could be used as a booster shot. “Globally, mRNA vaccines manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna have been used as boosters mainly, but since we don’t have those, Covovax is likely to be the candidate,” he said. While those holding Covishield are still worried, private hospitals with stocks of Covaxin are hopeful of finding takers once vaccination for children begins. Covaxin and Zycov-D are two vaccines that have received approval for children.
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