While the first phase of India’s vaccination drive focused on inoculating 3 crore healthcare and frontline workers, the second phase will commence on March 1st that will focus on people aged over 60 years and those above 45 years who have comorbidities.
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar made the announcement on Wednesday afternoon while mentioning that the Health Ministry will release the list of diseases and conditions that will be considered as comorbidities.
The government has allotted 10,000 state-run centres and 20,000 private centres where the vaccination will be provided. While the government centres will offer the shots for free, private facilities will furnish the same at a cost that will be confirmed after a few days, the minister added.
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“From March 1, people above 60 years of age and those above 45 years of age with comorbidities will be vaccinated at 10,000 government and over 20,000 private vaccination centres. The vaccine will be given free of cost at government centres,” Mr Javadekar said.
“Those who want to get vaccinated from private hospitals will have to pay. The amount they would need to pay will be decided by the Health Ministry within three-four days as they are in discussion with the manufacturers and hospitals,” he further said.
In this second phase, the government expects to cover about 27 crore people. This time, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and all Chief Minister, MPs and MLAs aged over 50 years are also likely to get vaccinated, sources reported last month.
With the country moving towards the inclusion of a larger population within its vaccination list, there will be grouping based on several factors and every sub-group will have a different timeline of getting the shot, Dr Suneeta Garg, an advisor to the ICMR, told NDTV on Tuesday.
The Lancet Commission’s Covid-19 India Taskforce member, Ms Garg, said that people who have comorbidities such as “diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases” will be given priority over those with other conditions and diseases while adding that the private sector will have a key role in this vaccination drive for administering the dose to people.
Though the goal in the first phase that started on January 16th was to inoculate 3 crore healthcare and frontline workers, data received uptill today morning shows only 1.21 crore people administered with the vaccine. Out of these, 14 lakh have been vaccinated with the compulsory second shot.
India has approved SII’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin till now while Russia’s Sputnik V has also applied for receiving permission for emergency use. The latter has an efficacy rate of 91.6%- higher than the 70% of Covishield and cannot be compared to Covaxin as it hasn’t disclosed its efficiency rate till now.
The Russian vaccine will be checked today by SEC (Subject expert committee).
As of this morning, India has 1.47 active cases as 13,742 new cases added to the list in the last 24 hours. Maharashtra and Kerala remain the most heavily affected states as they have more than 50,000 active cases each.