All above 60 years of age, 45-plus with comorbidities can get COVID-19 vaccine from March 1

The second phase of the world's largest vaccination drive will start on 1 March

The second phase of the world's largest vaccination drive will start on 1 March
The second phase of the world's largest vaccination drive will start on 1 March

After health workers and frontal sectors battling the pandemic now 60+ years age people and 45 years with comorbidities to get the vaccine

The Government of India (GOI) on Wednesday declared a massive Covid vaccination plan. Everyone above 60 years of age and those over 45 years with comorbidities will be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine from March 1 for free at government facilities and for a charge at many private hospitals. Earlier this month, India started vaccination of health workers and frontal sectors like police and forces battling the pandemic.

“The second phase of the world’s largest vaccination drive will start from Monday in which anybody above 60 years, that may not be less than 10 crore people in the country, and 45 years plus with comorbidities will be given vaccines in 10,000 government medical facilities and also over 20,000 private hospitals,” said Union Minister Prakash Javadekar detailing the decision of Union Cabinet.

The Minister said the world’s largest vaccination started on January 16 with 1,07,67,000 people vaccinated and 14 lakh also having received a second dose.

“Whoever goes to the government centre will be administered vaccine free of cost. The Indian government will pay for them. The government will purchase the necessary doses and will send them to all the states,” Javadekar said. Those who want to get the vaccination from private hospitals will have to pay, but the amount will be decided by the health ministry within next three-four days as they are in discussions with manufacturers as well as hospitals, he 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 that 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.

The Minister said the world’s largest vaccination started on January 16 with 1,07,67,000 people vaccinated and 14 lakh also having received a second dose. “This section was primarily for health workers and frontline workers and the whole expenditure was borne by the government, they were vaccinated free,” he said. Javadekar asserted that the vaccination in India has been successful, “faultless with hardly any complaints.”

Asked whether ministers and the Prime Minister, who would 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 thinking that they will pay to get vaccinated.

On another question about leaders and other countries taking the vaccination shots first, Prasad said it is about the point of view. “In many places, Prime Ministers and ministers are getting it done, here we thought that first, we will get our health sector fighters vaccinated,” he said.

[with PTI inputs]

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