New Delhi: Over three crore youngsters in the 15-18 age group have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine since India opened up vaccination for this category of beneficiaries on January 3, Union Health Minister Mansukh Madaviya said on Thursday.

“Great sense of responsibility & enthusiasm among Young India,” the minister said.

In a tweet, he said, “Over 3 crore youngsters between the 15-18 age group have received 1st dose of the #COVID19 vaccine. I appeal to all my eligible young friends to get vaccinated at the earliest.”

According to the Union Health Ministry data, over 26,73,385 precaution doses have been administered to healthcare workers, frontline workers and those aged 60 and above with comorbidities.

With the administration of over 76 lakh (76,32,024) vaccine doses in the last 24 hours, India’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage has exceeded 154.61 crore as per provisional reports till 7 am.

The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 last year with healthcare workers (HCWs) getting inoculated in the first phase. The vaccination of frontline workers (FLWs) started from February 2 last year.

The next phase of COVID-19 vaccination commenced from March 1 for people over 60 years of age and those aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions.

The country launched vaccination for all people aged more than 45 years from April 1. The government then decided to expand its vaccination drive by allowing everyone above 18 to be vaccinated from May 1.

The next phase of COVID-19 vaccination commenced from January 3 for adolescents in the age group of 15-18 years.

India began administering precaution dose of COVID-19 vaccine to healthcare workers, frontline workers including personnel deployed for election duty and those aged 60 and above with comorbidities from January 10 amid a spike in coronavirus infections fuelled by the Omicron variant of the virus.

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