On Saturday, PM Modi had announced that Covid vaccination of children between 15-18 will begin from January 3, whereas administration of “precaution doses” of Covid vaccines for health and frontline workers as well as for elderly above 60 with co-morbidities will begin from January 10. However, very few of the eligible elderly people may actually be receiving the third dose in January.
Since Covishield accounts for majority of (89%) the total 141 crore doses administered so far, it is estimated a maximum of one crore people above 60 with comorbidities would be eligible in January. Immunisation among children aged 15-to-18 will begin with Covaxin, which secured regulatory approval on Saturday for emergency use in children above 12 years. While Zydus Cadila’s ZyCoV-D has also been approved for children above 12 years, it is still not part of the government’s programme.
“Any decision on mixing of doses will be taken based on clinical trial results,” an official said.
The government maintains there are adequate doses available to be able to cater to the additional load. States have an inventory of four crore doses of Covaxin and the demand for Covaxin in the 18-plus category has ceased in many states. As on Sunday, there are 18 crore unutilised doses available with the states. The monthly production of Covaxin and Covishield is estimated at around 31 crore doses.