Day 1, over 1 lakh teens take the shot: ‘I was only one left in my home, so really excited’

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RAHUL GUCHAIT, 16, was happy to receive the Covid-19 vaccine on Monday after waiting for months. Everyone else in his family has already been vaccinated. Rahul, who was administered a shot of Covaxin, said he was excited and didn’t feel any pain.

“I was the only one left to be vaccinated in my home, so I was really excited today. At least, I have received one dose…I am happy.”

Guchait is a student of Town School Calcutta under ward 10 of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC). His was one of the schools that The Indian Express visited on Monday, the first day of vaccination for 15 to18-year-olds across the country. No queue was seen at the school in Hathibagan in ward number 10.
A few police personnel were deployed to man the crowd. However, the footfall was such that only four-five people were entering the premises at a time.

Civic bodies had put up posters and sign boards for students to easily locate the vaccination centres. The school had also arranged for drinking water and toffees for teenagers.

The state health department had on Sunday revealed that teenagers will get Covid-19 vaccines at all medical colleges, 37 urban health primary centres, and 16 schools in Kolkata.

A total of 1,02,837 doses were administered to this age group on Monday, said Director of Health and Services Dr Ajoy Chakraborty.

“In Kolkata, all the Medical Colleges, 37 UPHC, 16 Schools @1 school per borough will give Covid Vaccination for 15-18 years from Monday. In the state, a total of 479 blocks and ULB will give vaccination in one school per block /ULB,” said Dr Chakraborty. Vaccination drive for teenagers also started in 338 hospitals in the state on Monday.

On Sunday, while imposing fresh curbs, the state government announced closure of all schools and institutions. Although classes remained suspended, the vaccination drive continued.
Dr Arpita Banerjee, headmistress of Town School for Girls, said, “So far, 39 students, including those from other schools, have been vaccinated. 200 doses are available…” Till 4 pm, 59 students were vaccinated from this centre.

“The school staff helped us with registeration, In 15 minutes, my daughter got her first jab. It was all smooth,” said Mani Das, whose daughter Arpita, 16, got vaccinated from Town School.

The process, however, wasn’t as seamless for everyone. Barsha Sharma, a resident of Beliaghata and student of Kamala Vidya Mandir, was informed by her school authorities that a vaccination camp was on in Town School Kolkata and that she wasrequired to bring only Aadhaar Card. However, after she reached the school, she was allegedly refused vaccine on the ground that she wasn’t carrying any school identity card. Upset over this, Barsha kept calling her friends to bring school ID cards as well.

“My mother had gone for work. She rushed to the centre when I told her but it was in vain as I did not get the dose for not carrying a school ID Card though I was carrying my Aadhaar card,” said Sharma.
“As per guidelines, along with Aadhaar card, we are also taking school identity proof from students who are not from our school for record purposes,” said Himadri Mukherjee, headmaster of Town School, Calcutta.

Aparna Mondal, a student at Bagbazar Multipurpose Government Girls School, said she was happy to get vaccinated and was waiting for her second dose to complete as she has a wedding in her family in the next few months and her parents were not allowing her because she was not vaccinated.

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