Amidst alarming news of COVID-19 cases increasing in India due to the Omicron variant, there is a ray of hope in the New Year with the government rollout of vaccines for children, frontline workers and senior citizens. The new vaccination drive which is to begin from 3rd January 2022 for teens aged 15-18 years signifies that every cloud has a silver lining.
To know more about the current scenario, what the government is planning and what you should do to stay safe read the article below.
Addressing the country on 25th December 2021, the honourable PM announced that The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved the emergency use of the indigenously developed Covaxin for immunising young adults. Aside from Covaxin, ZyCoV-D developed by Zydus Cadila has also been authorised for emergency usage. However, the vaccination drive as of now will only cover children in the 15-18 years age bracket and Covaxin will be administered to them. Designed as a precautionary measure to protect the future of the Nation from the impending harm of the new variant, guardians as well responsible youths are urged to get their children and themselves registered respectively on the Co-WIN Portal.
As of now, the authorised COVID-19 vaccine for under 18 in India is slated to be only for Covaxin.
Senior citizens & frontline workers
Frontline workers i.e., employees who have to be physically present at their jobs such as doctors, fire-fighters, policemen and other kinds of industry professionals were the first to get their jab last year when the vaccination drive started followed by senior citizens (with co-morbidities). To make sure that everyone is safe in the face of the omicron virus surge, the Government has announced and emphasised that these two groups will be once eligible for a booster vaccine dose called a precaution dose from January 10th 2022. To get the jab, registrations are required to be made on the portal once again. For safety concerns, senior citizens are advised to go ahead with the booster dose upon confirmation from their respective healthcare providers.
Eligibility for third dose, booster dose, precaution dose of Covid vaccine
- Healthcare workers, frontline workers and senior citizens with comorbidities.
- A minimum duration of 9 months should have passed after the second dose of covid vaccine.
- Senior citizens who are eligible can take their third dose after consulting with their doctor.
As of reports released on 3rd January 2022, the Union Health Ministry announced that the Omicron variant cases were 1,700 in the country with an infection radius of 23 states and union territories. Delhi itself recorded 84% of new infections in the last few days. Currently, Delhi is functioning with a ‘yellow alert’ category of restriction under which educational institutions, gyms, theatres and shops involved in the trade of non-essential items are meant to stay shut until further notice.
However, as per studies conducted by doctors, the Omicron variant is said to only bring about mild infections with little requirement for oxygen concentrators and hospitalization, unlike the Delta variant.
The trend shows that those without vaccination are likely to suffer a more painful infection as opposed to those being doubled vaccinated.
Another trend being noticed is that in most cases of the infection, the individual is asymptomatic, meaning that he/she wouldn’t know that they are infected and will unknowingly spread the viral infection when in close contact with others. Keeping this fact in mind, civilians are being asked to be cautious and follow all COVID-19 appropriate behaviour. This includes limiting going out in public spaces and spending the rest of the winter season in a low key manner. As per news reports, the festive season during December was one of the main drivers behind the surge in Europe and also why COVID-19 cases are increasing in India and so now there is a necessity to salvage the situation before it goes totally out of hand.
What you should do
- Those who are in the 15-18 age bracket are being urged to get their Covaxin shot right away.
- Senior citizens with co-morbidities and frontline workers who are eligible for a precaution dose (3rd dose) of vaccine should get their jab without delay.
- The rest of the population need to wear their masks all the time when stepping out in public or going into public gatherings.
- Sanitize or wash your hands frequently.
- Any signs of fever, headache, chronic fatigue and sore throat should be followed up with a positive RT PCR test.
- Maintain 6 feet distance if you are still going to your workplace.
- Do not panic and do not be a participant in spreading fake news.
Although the Omicron variant is spreading quite fast, the good news is that India will see a surge by the end of January which means that the lifespan of this infection is going to be short-lived. In the meanwhile, it is advised that you get your children and elderly family members vaccinated and follow COVID-19 mandates at all times. Follow all safety precautions in order to save yourselves and others from the risk of exposure to COVID-19 infection.
The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.