GOI announces COVID-19 vaccines for all people above 45 years of age
The Government of India (GOI) on Tuesday announced that from April 1, all people above 45 years of age will be eligible to get COVID-19 vaccines and requested them to get registered for the inoculation. Briefing reporters on the decisions taken by the Cabinet after its meeting, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said now even people without comorbidities who are more than 45 years of age can get vaccinated. He requested people entitled to get themselves registered to take the jabs.
Javadekar said the Cabinet also decided that the second dose of the vaccine can be taken between four and eight weeks, on the advice of doctors. It was allowed to be taken between four to six weeks earlier, but scientists have now said that taking the second dose between four and eight weeks gives improved results. “We request that all eligible people should immediately register from April 1 and get vaccinated, as it is the shield against the disease,” said Javadekar.
The Union Home Ministry said based on the positive cases and tracking of their contacts, containment zones shall be carefully demarcated by the district authorities at the micro-level taking into consideration the guidelines prescribed by the Union Health Ministry.
He said till this day, 4.85 crore vaccines have been administered for COVID-19 and more than 32 lakh people administered the vaccine in the last 24 hours. Another decision taken, on the advice given by scientists and world scientist bodies, was that the second dose of vaccine can be administered between the fourth and eighth week, particularly for Covishield, he said.
“Our appeal is that all above 45 years should take the vaccine as early as possible, that will provide them the shield against Coronavirus and they should register for getting vaccinated,” the Minister said. Vaccines are available in enough number and there is no scarcity and the supply chains and supply line is intact, he said, adding that “I am sure everyone will welcome this decision and come forward to get vaccinated.”
“One has to continue using masks and maintaining social distancing and washing hands is also important, but vaccination is the only shield,” he noted. The Minister said the vaccine is available in adequate quantities and India takes pride that both its vaccines are successful. The Prime Minister himself took the Covaxin shot, he added, noting that one can take any of the two vaccines and take the second dose according to the doctor’s advice.
The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out in India on January 16 with healthcare workers getting inoculated and vaccination of the frontline workers started from February 2. The next phase of COVID-19 vaccination commenced on March 1 for those who are over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions.
Noting the increase of COVID-19 cases in some parts of the country, the Centre on Tuesday asked all states and to enhance the proportion of RT-PCR tests, strictly enforcement of test-track-treat protocol and speed up the pace of vaccination to cover all priority groups. Issuing fresh guidelines for April, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said keeping in view the fresh surge in COVID-19 cases, the new positive cases, detected as a result of intensive testing, need to be isolated or quarantined at the earliest and provided timely treatment.
The State governments and Union Territories administrations should strictly enforce the test-track-treat protocol in all parts of the country, ensure observance of COVID-19 appropriate behaviour by everyone and, scale up the vaccination drive to cover all the target groups, the guidelines said. All contacts have to be traced at the earliest, and similarly isolated and quarantined, it said.
The Union Home Ministry said based on the positive cases and tracking of their contacts, containment zones shall be carefully demarcated by the district authorities at the micro-level taking into consideration the guidelines prescribed by the Union Health Ministry. The states and UTs where the proportion of RT-PCR tests is less should rapidly increase it to reach the prescribed level of 70 per cent or more of total tests. “The authorities, based on their assessment of the situation, may impose local restrictions at district or sub-district and city or ward level, with a view to contain the spread of COVID-19,” the guidelines said.
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