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Vaccinating children not a condition to reopen schools: Govt

New Delhi: VK Paul, NITI Aayog’s Member-Health, said on Thursday that vaccines are not a prerequisite to reopening schools.

In response to a question at a press conference about children getting infected by COVID-19 now that schools have reopened, Mr Paul said, ‘Vaccinating children is not a condition for reopening schools. This criterion is not acceptable anywhere in the world, no scientific body, epidemiological evidence suggests it as a condition…However, vaccination of staff is desirable’.

Mr. Paul said of the availability of COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson in India that have been granted emergency use authorization, ‘The EUA status is well-known for both Moderna and Johnson and Johnson. That option is open.’

‘About their import or deployment from local production of Johnson and Johnson, there are issues around which we still have to find a common ground with respect to manufacturers and we are working in that direction,’ he said.

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The Member-Health of NITI Aayog said that one dose of COVID-19 vaccination prevents 95 percent of deaths and announced that 58 percent of the country’s population above 18 years of age had received the first dose of vaccination against the virus. ‘When you give two doses there is total protection of serious disease and death. However, with dynamic data, we have seen that the vaccines one dose of the vaccine also prevent serious disease or death to 95 per cent. It is clear that our tools vaccine tool is the most important and it will protect us. Going forward it will change the scenario dramatically,’ said Mr Paul. ‘It’s clear that two doses show complete protection, 58 per cent above 18 years given a single dose, it should be 100 per cent. No one should be left behind…About 72 crore vaccine doses given, those left should get administered to develop herd immunity,’ added Paul.

Overall, 54,68,97,006 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the country, whereas 16,97,00,422 second doses have been administered.

Among the states and union territories with more than 85% coverage of the first dose, there are: Sikkim, Dadar and Nagar Haveli, Himachal Pradesh, Tripura, Ladakh, Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep, Uttarakhand, Mizoram.

In Sikkim, Dadar and Nagar Haveli, and Himachal Pradesh, 100 percent of their populations have been vaccinated against COVID-19.


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