Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Monday that the Centre is considering expanding the list of comorbidities thus making more people eligible for the COVID-19 jab in the 49-59 age group. In the second phase of the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive, people above 60 years of age and between the ages of 45 and 59 with comorbidities are being administered the vaccine.
Vardhan stated that the Centre is considering revising the list while responding to a query about why conditions such as obesity which is a significant factor in the hospitalisation of coronavirus patients weren't included in the list of the comorbidities, according to The Economic Times.
"We are constantly revisiting all of this. As the second phase of vaccination has started, there are many such issues which are being flagged to the ministry. You must understand it's a work in progress and these issues will be addressed," Vardhan said.
Vardhan added, "These issues are all decided by NEGVAC (National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19). These have been flagged to us and will be addressed by NEGVAC. We will revise our list, if need be."
State governments have flagged the issue of bedridden senior citizens not being able to get the vaccine. At many vaccination facilities across the country, senior citizens are requesting help for their bedridden spouses. Responding to this, some states have adopted a cohort approach by taking the COVID-19 vaccination drive to community centres that are near old-age homes. However, bedridden senior citizens could still not get the vaccine, as per the daily. Discussing this issue, Vardhan said, "This issue will be addressed. NEGVAC is regularly monitoring all the issues coming up in vaccine administration".
Vardhan explained that the country is moving towards a new phase in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. "Last year we had started on a mission saying test, test, test. Now it is vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate. We are trying to iron out issues," Vardhan added, as per the daily.
Vardhan insisted that there were no glitches in the Co-WIN COVID-19 vaccine portal. He said, "There were some teething problems on the first day but now it is seamless. We are now trying to tell hospitals to upload their appointments so that people have a visibility of slots for 28 days."