Friday, March 31, 2023

Covid vaccines for those above 60 and over 45 with comorbidities from March 1: Government

NEW DELHI, February 24: The government on Wednesday announced that people above the age of 60 and those over 45 with comorbidities will be able to receive Covid-19 vaccines from March 1.

Speaking at a media briefing, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said that the vaccinations will be free of cost at around 10,000 government centres spread across the country.
Vaccines will also be provided at 20,000 private centres but people will have to pay to get inoculated, he added.
“The amount they (beneficiaries) would need to pay will be decided by the Union health ministry within three to four days as it is in discussion with manufacturers and hospitals,” Javadekar said.
Asked if people will have a choice on which vaccine — Covishield or COVAXIN — they want to take, Javadekar said India is proud to have two vaccines which are both effective with proven efficacy.
While Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield is being manufactured by the Serum Institute, Covaxin is being produced by Bharat Biotech.
Javadekar asserted that the vaccination in India has been successful, “faultless with hardly any complaints”.
Asked whether ministers and the Prime Minister, who would be now be in the category of those who can take the vaccination, will get inoculated, Javadekar said those who want to take the vaccination will take it at the place of their choosing from March 1.
Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who also briefed the media on the Cabinet decisions, said most of the ministers are of the thinking that they will pay to get vaccinated.
The vaccination drive will cover 30 crore priority population till July this year. Healthcare and frontline workers are the first to get inoculated, followed by elderly and people with comorbid conditions.
According to the health ministry, as on February 24, the vaccination coverage was 1,21,65,598 through 2,54,356 sessions.
These include 64,98,300 HCWs (first dose), 13,98,400 HCWs (second dose) and 42,68,898 FLWs (first dose).
On day-39 of the vaccination drive, 4,20,046 vaccine doses were given. Out of which, 2,79,823 beneficiaries were vaccinated across 9,479 sessions for first dose (HCWs and FLWs) and 1,40,223 HCWs received second dose of vaccine.
The government’s announcement comes at a time when at least five states, including Maharashtra and Kerala, are witnessing a fresh surge in infections.
The Union health ministry on Tuesday asked Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and Chhattisgarh to expedite the vaccination of healthcare and frontline workers so as to confer immunity in the shortest possible time-frame.
(ToI With inputs from PTI)