12–17-year-olds to be given Covid booster shotsOfficials say those eligible should visit health facilities for the shots as there won’t be a special campaign with specific dates like in the past.
Children and adolescents aged between 12 and 17 years who were inoculated with Covid-19 vaccine three months ago can get booster shots from health institutions, according to officials.
The Health Ministry’s decision to administer booster shots to the said age group is in line with a recommendation of a recent meeting of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee, officials said.
“All children and adolescents who received their second Covid doses three months ago are eligible for booster shots,” Dr Bibek Kumar Lal, director at the Family Welfare Division, told the Post. “We have decided to administer booster shots to 12–17 year olds as per the recommendation of an expert panel, the National Immunisation Advisory Committee.”
The government had provided Covid-19 jabs to 12–17 year olds in 20 districts including three districts of the Kathmandu Valley from November 22, after a poor response to the vaccination drive from the priority group—people with compromised immunity.
The priority group included people suffering from renal failure, those on dialysis, people taking medicines after organ transplantation, cancer patients and those suffering from lung diseases.
Likewise, people taking medicines for high blood pressure, people suffering from diabetes, heart ailments and those with compromised immunity due to various reasons including HIV/AIDS were also administered Pfizer shots with priority.
Moderna vaccines were administered to children of 57 districts from December 20.
The Health Ministry had said that it would administer only Pfizer vaccine to children and adults of the said age group of 20 districts, where Pfizer vaccine were administered, but later administered Moderna shots, after it received sufficient doses of the vaccine from COVAX.
Around 3.5 million children and adults of the said age groups were administered Covid jabs from schools.
Officials said that children receiving Pfizer vaccine for booster shot will be administered 0.3ml and those receiving Moderna vaccine will get 0.25 ml as booster dose.
Sagar Dahal, chief of the National Immunisation Programme, said health agencies at the local level can start administering the jabs at their convenience. “This time there won’t be a special campaign with specific dates like in the past.”
The Health Ministry is also preparing to roll out Covid-19 vaccine from June 23 for children between five and 11 years old.
Officials said the vaccination programme for 5–11 year olds will be carried out in two phases—first in 27 districts and later in the remaining 50 districts.
Children of the said age group in Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari, Saptari, Dhanusha, Parsa, Siraha, Mahottari, Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Chitwan, Kavrepalanchok, Sindhuli, and Nawalparasi West will be inoculated in the first phase.
Other districts where vaccination drives have been planned in the first phase are
Rupandehi, Banke, Dang, Kapilvastu, Bardia, Surkhet, Kailali, Kanchanpur and Dadeldhura, according to Health Ministry officials.
Experts say children are also vulnerable to the risk of Covid-19 infection, they should also be inoculated.
Nepal has so far received 53,381,570 doses of Covid vaccines of various brands—AstraZeneca, Vero Cell, Moderna, Janssen, Sinovac-CoronaVac, and Pfizer-BioNTech.
Nepal launched its vaccination drive on January 27 with 1 million doses of Covishield, the AstraZeneca type vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, provided by India in grant.
Nepal needs to vaccinate around 90 percent of its over 29,192,480 population, or over 25 million people, as per the government’s new plan that includes all those above five years old.
As of Thursday, 19,969,662 people or 68.4 percent of the total population have been fully vaccinated.