Amid Rising Cases of Omicron, India Approves Booster Dose, Vaccine for Children

© REUTERS / ADNAN ABIDIFILE PHOTO: Indian Health Minister Harsh Vardhan holds a dose of Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine called COVAXIN, during a vaccination campaign at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) hospital in New Delhi, India, January 16, 2021. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi//File Photo/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Indian Health Minister Harsh Vardhan holds a dose of Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine called COVAXIN, during a vaccination campaign at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) hospital in New Delhi, India, January 16, 2021. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi//File Photo/File Photo - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.12.2021
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The total number of cases of Omicron, the new variant of COVID-19, in India has risen to 422. The state of Maharashtra tops the list with 108 cases, while Delhi has 79.
Given the rising number of cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that the country will vaccinate the 15-18 year age group against COVID-19 from 3 January 2022.
In his address to the nation on Saturday night, PM Modi also said that " precautionary doses", or booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine would be administered to healthcare and frontline workers and people above 60 years of age with comorbidities from 10 January 2022.
PM Modi's address came hours after the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) granted emergency use authorisation (EUA) to India-based Bharat Biotech's Covaxin for children above 12 years with certain conditions.
The demand for the booster doses has increased amid the outbreak of the Omicron variant.
In his address, PM Modi also lauded the efforts of the scientific community in the fight against the pandemic.
“Our scientific community carefully decided every detail of the vaccine, when to take which doses etc. Now the scientific community has arrived at some crucial decisions which I would like to share with you on the auspicious occasion of Christmas and also the birth anniversary of Atal Bihari Vajpayee," Modi said.
Talking about Omicron, the Indian Prime Minister said that there is no need to panic as India is well-poised in the fight against the virus thanks to its healthcare infrastructure.
However, the pandemic is not over, and there is a need to maintain COVID-appropriate behaviour, he added.
The beginning of a new vaccination phase from January 2022 will complete a year of India's vaccination journey as the inoculation drive against COVID-19 began on 16 January, 2021.
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