Sources claim that over 1.2 lakh children have lost their parents to Covid-19 and are now either at shelter homes or foster homes.
New Delhi: As India is witnessing a sharp spike in Covid-19 cases, the vaccination for children, specifically of age 15-18 years, has started from 3 January 2022. Fortunately, this year, underprivileged orphan kids, due to Covid-19 or otherwise, will not face any issues with vaccine distribution as the government has already started taking steps to vaccinate them. As per the record, most of the children have received their first dose of Covaxin.
As per the sources, over 1.2 lakh children in India have lost their parents to Covid-19 and are now either at shelter houses or foster homes. As per the Lancet study, around 25000 children have lost their mothers to Covid-19, while 90751 children have lost their fathers and more than 10 children have lost both their parents, in India. With the beginning of vaccination amongst children, many kids who are orphans due to Covid-19 or otherwise, are now under safe hands as the shelter homes and child welfare committees (CWC) tied up with district magistrates have already started the procedure of vaccination.
“The CWC has a list of children who have lost their parents due to Covid-19 or otherwise. We have also told the district magistrate to provide special or separate arrangements for their vaccination. There are many cases, where we know their local guardians, the list has already been forwarded to the district magistrate and the whole vaccination process has started taking place,” a CWC member in East district of Delhi, under the condition of anonymity, told The Sunday Guardian.
Further, she added, “We have also connected the district magistrate with the children, living in shelter homes, so the vaccination will take place in the institution itself. However, if any children are living with their local guardians, then they are instructed to take them to the nearest vaccination centres or may provide them with vaccination at their doorsteps. We, now, have 28 children who are orphaned due to Covid-19 or otherwise, over the past 1.5 years. However, not all children come under the slab of 15-18 years and maybe less than 50% come under the category. We are also trying to help them out too.” The district child protection unit is rigorously checking all the procedures and the department of women and child development, Delhi, has already started taking the necessary steps.
Many shelter homes in Delhi have also sent their list of children to start the vaccination process and several children have already been vaccinated in the first week of the process. The executive council member of Salam Balak Trust, A.K. Tiwari, told this paper, “In Delhi NCR, we have seven homes, The vaccination process has already started. At one home-Udan, around 16 girls received their vaccination on January 3 itself and there is another big home where 60 boys have also been vaccinated. We set up two camps near the local dispensary, in one camp, there were 40 boys and in the other camp, there were 20 boys. All are from underprivileged groups, who have either lost their parents or living under destitute conditions.”
Similarly, at another shelter house, Basti Vikas Kendra, near Madrasi Mandir, Delhi, the person-in-charge, Pragati Pandey, also, told this correspondent, “We have already sent the list of children to the department of women and child development. Now, the district magistrate will look into the whole matter. However, the ratio of the children may increase or decrease depending on the number of kids rescued. Usually, the shelter homes get a circular outlining the next steps to be taken.”
However, the government is yet to take some steps on the children living in the streets. As per the records, over 55000 children live on the streets, and the government has yet to find out how to begin the vaccination procedure for these children because their mobility is higher, which adds to another major issue in the state. At present, many parents are not hesitant to vaccinate their eligible kids amidst the Covid-19 surge. Not just hospitals, but also numerous school buildings were converted into vaccination clinics for children. However, due to the shortage of staff, the children along with their parents had to wait long hours for their turn.