Wednesday, 19 June, 2024

Vaccinating Children

With the vaccination against COVID-19 gathering new momentum across the country, the government is very hopeful for meeting the goal of inoculating the targeted 71.6 per cent (a total 21,756,763 people above 18 years of age) of population by mid-April next year. The government aims to administer the life-saving jabs to 33 per cent of the targeted population by mid-October this year. As per the fresh updates of the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), 35.5 per cent of the total population has received their first dose of the vaccine against the pandemic. As of Sunday (October 3), the number of people vaccinated fully has stood at more than 29 per cent. What is notable is the fact that the Kathmandu Valley has been far ahead of other parts of the country when it comes to vaccination. More than 70 per cent of the valley residents have already got their jabs. As the densely populated valley was at higher risk of the deadly viral disease being transmitted during the first and second waves of the contagion, the inoculation campaign has now been intensified.

It is also heartening that the spread of the pandemic has been subsiding in the country, with only about 15,500 active COVID-19 cases. Daily caseload and deaths have also been showing a downturn trend gradually and recovery rate has exceeded 96 per cent. Hospitalisations have also gone down remarkably throughout the country over the past weeks. With this encouraging scenario, the government has already relaxed COVID-related restrictions. All the sectors, including businesses and educational institutions, have now reopened. Even the sensitive sectors like tourism have resumed, bringing much enthusiasm and hope to all stakeholders. However, everyone is required to follow necessary health safety protocols to keep the fatal virus at bay as there is a risk of resurgence any time.

The present coalition government has given the topmost priority to vaccination against COVID-19. There is no doubt that the ongoing vaccination has been one of the main factors behind a considerable fall in coronavirus infections and fatalities in the country. The government has made arrangements for immunising people belonging to varied age-groups on a priority basis. Initially, the frontline healthcare workers, security personnel, elderlies and other vulnerable lot received the vaccines. Many countries, especially the developed ones, have already begun giving anti-COVID jabs to children below 18 years. The government has now come up with its plan to vaccinate them immediately after the upcoming Dashain festival. Minister of State for Health and Population Umesh Shrestha, the other day, made this announcement.

State Minister Shrestha said that the country is going to have 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for the children. He revealed that the government has recently concluded the purchase of six million doses of Pfizer vaccine and four million doses of Moderna vaccine for children. Of the total doses of vaccines, 100,000 doses are arriving in the country by Dashain. Right after the festival, the government plans to start inoculation drive for children which will prove to be a crucial life saver for the younger population. It will also pave the way for all the schools across the country to resume their in-person classes.