So far over 4.8 crore have been inoculated; no shortage of Covid vaccine, says Union Min
Aiming to speed up the pace of the vaccination in the face of an alarming surge in Covid-19 cases, the Union Cabinet on Tuesday allowed the administration of coronavirus vaccine to people above 45 years of age from April 1, irrespective of comorbidities.
Talking to reporters soon after the Cabinet meeting, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar announced there will be no need for medical certificates supporting co-morbidity conditions, as the Government had stipulated earlier for the second phase of vaccination.
So far since the launch of the national vaccination programme, over 4.8 crore people have been inoculated with more than 32.53 lakh Covid-19 vaccine doses administered on Monday itself. These include health workers like doctors and nurses, frontline workers like police and municipal workers followed by those above 60 years and 45 years but with co-morbidities. However, now “everyone above 45 years of age, with or without comorbidities, will be able to get the Covid-19 vaccine from April 1,” Javadekar said.
While announcing the Government’s decision, Javadekar appealed to all eligible citizens to get themselves registered to get inoculated with the coronavirus vaccines. The Union Minister assured the nation that there is no shortage of Covid vaccine doses in the country.
“We have enough vaccines. All eligible people should get registered as it is a shield against Covid-19. We appeal all above 45+ should get vaccinated,” Javadekar said.
The decision to widen the vaccine ambit comes amid the concern that the doubling time of Covid-19 cases in India has decreased from 504.4 days on March 1 to 202.3 days on March 23, with six States — Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu — reporting a surge in daily new cases and together accounting for 80.90 per cent of the new infections reported in a day.
When asked to comment on the UK coronavirus variant cases found in Punjab, Javadekar said he was not a health expert, but can say that the virus erupts in several variants. “More cases are expected. States which are noticing more case, we are in constant touch with them,” he added.
As per the advice by scientists and world scientist bodies, the second dose can be administered between the sixth and eight week, particularly for Covishield. India has approved Covaxin developed by Bharat Biotech and Covishield from the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Serum Institute of India (SII).
Of 4.8 crore (4,84,94,594) vaccine doses administered through 7,84,612 sessions, 78,59,579 healthcare workers (HCWs) have taken the first dose, 49,59,964 HCWs second dose, 82,42,127 frontline workers (FLWs) have received the first dose and 29,03,477 FLWs have taken the second dose.
Besides, 42,98,310 beneficiaries aged more than 45 to 60 with specific co-morbidities and more than 2 crore (2,02,31,137) beneficiaries aged more than 60 years have been administered the first dose.
According to the Government, fourteen States and UTs have not reported any Covid-19 deaths in the last 24 hours. These are Jammu & Kashmir, Goa, Uttarakhand, Odisha, Lakshadweep, Sikkim, Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Ladakh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.