The Centre asked states and union territories to not carry on fresh registrations of healthcare and frontline workers for COVID-19 vaccination. This decision was taken as some ineligible candidates were getting their names enlisted for coronavirus vaccination in violation of the rules, it said. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan in a letter said that registration of candidates over 45 years of age will continue on Co-WIN portal. He also asked states to ensure universal vaccination of already registered healthcare workers (HCWs) and frontline workers (FLWs) at the earliest.
In the letter, Bhushan said that the timeline for completion of vaccination for all in the priority group was fixed at February 25 for HCWs and March 6 for FLWs. He said that a month has passed since the deadlines and even after starting vaccination of the population of over 60 years, provisions were made to register and vaccinate all HCWs and FLWs.
"Various inputs have been received from different sources that in some of the COVID-19 vaccination centres (CVCs), some ineligible beneficiaries are being registered as HCWs and FLWs and are getting vaccinated in complete violation of the prescribed guidelines," Bhushan said. He added that there has been an increase of 24 per cent in the database for HCWs in the past few days.
"This issue was discussed with state representatives and domain knowledge experts in the NEGVAC meeting today, and as per the recommendation of National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC), it has been decided that no fresh registrations in categories of HCWs and FLWs will be allowed with immediate effect. Registrations of persons aged 45 years and above will continue to be permitted on CoWIN portal," he said in the letter.
Rajesh Bhushan said that universal vaccination of already registered HCWs and FLWs should be ensured.
The nationwide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 with HCWs. Vaccination of FLWs started from February 2. The second phase of COVID-19 vaccination commenced from March 1 for those over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with specified comorbidities. In the latest phase, everyone over 45 years of age can be vaccinated.