- Apart from the second Covid wave-making headlines across the length and breadth of the country, another hot topic of interest that is equally hogging the limelight is none other than the vaccination drive underway. Though the Union Government does not miss an opportunity to lay claim to being the fastest country to have inoculated 22 crores of people or whatever numbers quoted, the fact of the matter is in a nation of our size and population density, we have not even covered minuscule percentage statistics-wise. There is a long way to traverse before proclaiming to have attained herd immunity by inoculating 80% of the population.
- Make no mistake, it is easy sitting on a couch and pass comments about the challenges confronting the Governments while they go about handling the extremely debilitating situation on a war footing. Most of us comprehend the practical difficulties in procuring the monumental number of vaccine shots from the manufacturers who are faced with a different set of challenges in ramping up the production to meet the growing demands. Comparing western and European countries’ vaccination percentages with India is simply impractical failing to convey an insightful narrative on the issue.
- On its part, the Union Government is constantly changing, twisting, and tweaking the vaccination administration policy by bringing in proven methodologies with the sole aim of covering as many people as possible before the anticipated third wave strikes the country. Experts are of the considered opinion that the third Covid wave might be dangerous for children and adolescents below the age of 18 years. Their susceptibility and vulnerability against the rampaging virus might be the reason why the Union Government is leaving no stone unturned in granting vaccine clinical trials for the age group of 12 years to 18 years.
PC: Nancy Schimelpfening
- With the adult population all set to get vaccinated in the next few months, the children of the abovementioned age groups should also be protected in the interim by speeding up the vaccine trials involving various manufacturers, both local as well as foreign. Remember, the schools across the country are closed for more than 13 months now, and going by the look of things, the portals of learning will continue to remain closed for physical pedagogy for the remainder of the academic year as well. Note that roughly 50% of the population is below the age of 19 years, which would have been a welcome statistic under normal circumstances, making us feel quite gung-ho about the demographic dividends. Not so, sadly.
- Unfortunately, the situation is anything but normal and the only way to keep the virus at a considerable distance is to ensure the inoculation of the targeted category of people is achieved in double-quick time. Cooped-up in the comforts of home and constant exposure to the internet owing to online learning and entertainment mediums has made children obese in the absence of essential physical activities rendering them most vulnerable to the virus. Life skills and social skills apart from physical learnings on the school campus for these children are also a big concern. Vaccination alone for children would set right the stark lacunas staring at us.