After the closure for almost two years, schools are on the verge of reopening across most states in India. With a good percentage of adults who have received the double vaccination in India, the Health Department is expediting the vaccination programme in schools. However, the advent of the Omicron surge may postpone this plan.
Vaccination Drive in Schools: A Two-Pronged Strategy
The reopening of schools will have a two-pronged advantage. The students can resume their offline classes and promote the vaccination program. Health Departments may find it easier to coordinate with schools. The process will be accomplished much faster, with vaccinations being administered to the classes 8 to 12 or children having completed 15 years of age as the initial roll out-group. Vaccination camps have been set up in Primary, Semi-Government and Government Schools. In rural areas, the schools have been linked to the Primary Health Centres acting as spokes to the Health Department. (1)
Guidelines Issued for Vaccinations in Schools
High-level meetings held at the Union and the State Level Government health departments outlined a framework with guidelines to successfully conduct the Vaccination Programme in schools. Some of the major guidelines issued are as follows:
- The vaccination will be administered to children who are 15 years and above in age. The student should be born in 2007 or before to be eligible.
- The 15-18years’ age group of students are eligible for COVAXIN only.
- The district task force and the Education Department are to identify the schools where vaccines are to be administered.
- Schools with 500 beneficiaries or more are selected as Vaccination Drive centres. The centres are linked to the nearest Government COVID vaccination centre.
- Vaccines will be administered with parental consent only. All accrued formalities are to be fulfilled.
- The selected schools need to facilitate a waiting area, a vaccination room and an observation room to suffice as a Vaccination Centre.
- All COVID related protocols such as social distancing, wearing of masks, PPE, hand gloves, headgear and hand washing stations, and protocol for the vaccination staff; are to be followed strictly.
- The vaccination team will consist of a medical officer from the Health Department, a vaccinator, a nurse and the support staff provided by the school.
- The children taking the vaccination need to be registered on the COWIN portal. All registered students are to be listed and need to be ready with the same on the day of the vaccination camp.
- The school needs to be closed for offline classes on the day of the vaccination drive.
- Any child reporting fever or other illness will not be eligible for the vaccination.
- After the vaccination, children will be monitored for 30 minutes.
- A backup to manage any Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFI) will be placed at each centre.
- AEFI is to be addressed during an emergency at the vaccination camp.
- The school needs to arrange for an ambulance with oxygen support for any critical incidents. (2)
Indian Vaccination Efforts
India commenced its Vaccine Program initially on 16 January 2021. The statistics are remarkable, with over 1.53 billion doses have been administered as of 4 January 2022. Schools have cooperated wholeheartedly in the Vaccination Drive in Schools rolled out on 3 January 2022. Over 40 lakh students have received their first dose of the vaccination, giving ample protection to the vulnerable age group and a relief for the parents and school authorities. Some schools have even endeavoured to set up welcome posters, selfie points and colourful balloons to make the entire experience a pleasant one for the children.
Ruby Park Public School: Where Mental and Physical Health are important
Ruby Park Public School aims at educating and nurturing students to become a strong community of future-ready citizens and leaders of tomorrow. With a holistic curriculum, the students are taught life skills via an education pattern, supported by a counselling and disciplinary system that cares for the mental health of the students.
Being affiliated with the CBSE Board, it visions to impart 21st-century skills to its students and maintain a delicate balance between traditional values and modern ethos. The refreshing and peaceful learning environment has stimulated the students to successfully achieve the highest standards of discipline and excellence in their educational endeavours.
RPPS blog posts have been written with the information gathered from approved articles and websites online. Our research and the technical team strives to provide relevant information through such articles.