The Bengal government is making all efforts to roll out the Covid-19 vaccination programme for children of 12-14 years of age from Wednesday, despite certain bottlenecks.
As the standard operating procedure (SoP) was received from the Centre only on Tuesday, sending it out to district and village health centres overnight poses a challenge, a senior health official here said.
Besides, the scheduled vaccine — Corbevax — is yet to reach all the districts of the state, he said.
Health department officials, who have been involved with the vaccination drive thus far, held a virtual meeting with their central government counterparts earlier in the day, during which the SoP was handed over to them, he explained.
“There may be delays in the roll-out in some places as we received the SoP just today from the health ministry. We have sent it to the secretariat for final nod. Unless that nod is received, the inoculation drive cannot be initiated,” the official told PTI.
The drive for 12-14-year-olds is set to take off across the country on Wednesday.
“Kolkata and its surrounding districts have received Corbevax, but several other places are yet to get them. It is necessary to have enough vaccines in store for the drive to begin,” he maintained.
According to the senior official, Bengal has stocked up at least 31 lakh doses of Corbevax for over 47 lakh children in the 12-14-years’ age group.
Beneficiaries will be administered two doses of Corbevax, 28 days apart.
“The department is planning to start the inoculation programme in schools, besides primary healthcare centres and state-run hospitals. That said, Class X state board exams are still on, and starting the drive in schools at this point in time may get difficult, the official said,” adding that municipal bodies would have to take a call if they would use clinics of mayors for administering the doses to children.