Out of 35 lakh adolescents in the 15- 17 years age group eligible for the Covid vaccine, Gujarat has given the first dose to about 25 lakh in 22 days from January 3 to 25. About 10 lakh beneficiaries are yet to receive their first dose and the state government is finding it difficult to rope them in.

A senior official of the state government on Tuesday said the vaccination of this age group started in the schools itself and more than two-third have been covered but it is going to be harder to reach out to the rest.

Dr Nayan Jani, Additional Director of Family Health and Staté Immunisation Officer, during a virtual interaction on the UNICEF forum, said, we have given the first dose to 25 lakh adolescents. However, the challenge is now to find those who have dropped out of the school during the pandemic, or are currently not in schools due to Covid regulations. We plan to look for them via the Har Ghar Dastak programme. This needs to be done fast because if the government decides to vaccinate the next age group, we will have a lot more beneficiaries on our hands.

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Attempts are also underway to rope in NGOs and other stakeholders to find children in urban slums and those part of the migrant population so that they can be vaccinated against Covid.

Dr Nishchal Bhatt, paediatrician and member of the Gujarat Covid Immunisation Task Force, said, It is important that students go back to schools, interact with teachers and peers and also protect themselves from Covid.Vaccines become an important tool to enable them to make the most from their crucial years.

Dr Bhatt added, Covexin is absolutely safe for children and there are hardly any side effects.

Gujarat reports 16,608 cases, 28 more deaths: Covid cases in Gujarat continued to remain below the 20k mark for the third day on Tuesday, with the state reporting 16,608 new cases in a 24-hour cycle. The state had reported 13,805 cases on January 24 and 16,617 cases on January 23. However, the number of Covid deaths continued to climb with the state reporting 28 deaths on January 25. This is another high for the third wave as Gujarat had reported 25 deaths on Monday and 19 on Sunday.

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