PM Modi lauded scientists and innovators for their "commendable" efforts

Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged children aged 12 to 14 years to get vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus as the window for the age group opened on Wednesday. The PM also urged those above the age of 60 to get a precautionary dose.

The children in the said age group will be administered Corbevax vaccine manufactured by Hyderabad-based Biological E. It is India's first indigenously developed Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) protein sub-unit vaccine against COVID-19.

In a series of tweets, PM Modi said;
"Today is an important day in India’s efforts to vaccinate our citizens. Now onwards, youngsters in the 12-14 age group are eligible for vaccines and all those above 60 are eligible for precaution doses. I urge people in these age groups to get vaccinated."

"In line with India’s ethos of caring for the entire planet, we sent vaccines to several nations under the Vaccine Maitri program. I am glad that India’s vaccination efforts have made the global fight against COVID-19 stronger."

"Today, India has many ‘Made in India’ vaccines. We have also granted approval to other vaccines after a due process of evaluation. We are in a much better position to fight this deadly pandemic. At the same time, we have to keep following all COVID-related precautions."

Meanwhile, the co-morbidity clause for administering precaution doses to those aged 60 years has been removed and all above 60 years of the age can be administered with precaution dose starting today.

Earlier, the administration of precaution dose was restricted to those above 60 years of age with comorbidities, frontline workers and healthcare workers.

India commenced its nationwide Covid-19 vaccination drive on January 16, 2021 after the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) gave Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) to Serum Institute of India's Covishield and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin.

Starting initially by vaccinating healthcare workers, it was then expanded to frontline workers, followed by people above 60 years of age and those above 45 years with comorbidities. Later it was also expanded to all above 45 years of age and then those above 18 years of age.

The vaccination drive for those in the age group 15-18 was started on January 3 this year and the precautionary doses to the healthcare workers, frontline workers and 60-years-plus individuals then commenced on January 10.

On Monday, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya announced the expansion of the drive for 12 to 14 years of children. A day later, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote to Chief Secretaries of all states and Union Territories (UTs), saying only Corbevax would be used for inoculating 12-13 and 13-14 year olds.

In his letter, Bhushan also said that the precautionary dose will be administered to the beneficiaries only after nine months (36 weeks) after the date of second vaccination, adding that detailed instructions have been sent to all states and UTs in this regard.

"States were advised to ensure that only those who have attained the age of 12 years on the date of vaccination are vaccinated against COVID19; if the beneficiary is registered but not attained the age of 12 years on the date of vaccination, COVID19 vaccine is not to be given," Bhushan stated.

India's cumulative vaccination coverage has crossed 180.58 crore, including 9 crore doses in the age group of 15-17 years and 2 crore precaution doses, as per government data available till 7 pm on Tuesday.