COVID-19 vaccine will be administered in schools in the State from Wednesday.
The decision was taken at a high-level meeting presided over by Minister for Health Veena George and Minister for General Education V. Sivankutty on Sunday. The vaccination drive in schools is being undertaken on the directions of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to speed up vaccination for children.
Separate meetings by the Health and the General Education departments were followed by the joint meeting of the two Ministers to give a final shape to the school vaccination drive. Guidelines for the vaccination drive in schools have also been released.
The COVID-19 vaccine is given to children who are 15 and older. They should be born in 2007 or prior to that. The 15-17 age group is eligible only for COVAXIN. The vaccine will be administered only with parental consent.
The district task force, with the support of the Education department, identifies schools where vaccines are to administered. Schools with more than 500 beneficiaries are selected as sites for conducting the vaccination.
School authorities have to ensure waiting area, vaccination room, and observation room, in the vaccination centre. The centres will be linked to a nearby government COVID vaccination centre. The number of school vaccination centres is decided by the district task force.
All COVID-19 protocols will be followed. School authorities have to prepare a list of children to be administered the vaccine on a particular day much beforehand and inform them about the time allotted to them. The day before the vacccination, the school authorities will ensure that all children have registered on the COWIN portal.
The vaccination team will comprise a medical officer from the Health department, vaccinator, staff nurse, and support staff provided by the school. All vaccinations have to be recorded on COWIN. Offline sessions should not be held.
Vaccination will not be administered to children with fever and other illness. After the vaccination, children will be kept under observation for 30 minutes. A mechanism to manage adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) will be put in place in each centre so that any health problems children may have following the vaccination can be addressed. If children suffer any discomfort, they should be shifted to the AEFI management centre concerned. Schools should arrange for ambulance with oxygen support for this.