With the COVID-19 vaccination drive for children aged 15 gathering pace, the Centre is likely to issue an advisory soon to reopen schools across the country. Sources have told ANI that, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya has asked the National Expert Group to suggest ways and work on modalities to open schools nationwide.
"COVID-19 has affected children of all age groups. However, the mortality rate and severity of disease in children are negligible. Health experts believe that it is high time children return to schools," sources said.
Ever since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools have remained by and large shut. Some states did open schools partially on an on and off basis but widespread apprehensions and reservations continue to remain.
"However, it will be up to states to decide whether they are ready to open schools or not," a source told ANI.
Top sources have also told ANI that the Centre wants to reopen schools in a staggered manner and under strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols.
The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16, 2021 and vaccination of all eligible population above 18 years of age started from May 1, 2021. The next phase of COVID-19 vaccination commenced from January 3 for adolescents in the age group of 15-18 years.
On Thursday, the Union Health Ministry said that in a landmark achievement, 95 per cent of the eligible population has been administered with the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in the country.
India's COVID-19 vaccination coverage has crossed 164.35 crore (1,64,35,41,869) mark on Thursday evening.
Moreover, more than one crore (1,03,04,847) Precaution Doses for the identified categories of beneficiaries for COVID vaccination have been administered so far, the ministry said yesterday evening.