“Madam-will Omicron affect children like me?” “Will we also get the COVID-19 vaccine like the older children?” “Since the number of COVID-19 cases are rising – should we wear masks at home?” “Please …. may I ask just one more question on behalf of my grandmother?”
This Q&A session extended far beyond the stipulated time and the wish for more time was mutual, both for 147 children and me, as we were participating in an online COVID-19 awareness session organized on January 8th 2022 by our Children’s Academyi. One got the sense that the minds of our young children were busy with so many questions about the new variant ‘omicron’, and its immediate implication in their life. This, even as their daily schedule is disrupted yet again with partial school closures. The COVID-19 pandemic and everything that has come along with it has affected the lives of our children in more ways than we can actually comprehend, research, observe and empathize with. In the midst of all this, data from the last 6 months show us that most children affected by COVID-19 recover well and this encouraging evidence is being communicated actively to policy makers and families by public health experts worldwide so that ‘return to school’ (like in India) will be given serious thought. Children however continue to be part of the COVID-19 transmission chain and in multi-generation settings this continues to evoke concern and fear. The successful launch of COVID-19 vaccination for adolescents in India is a very welcome addition to the COVID response.