The second dose of anti-coronavirus vaccine will be administered to healthcare workers from February 13, the Centre said on Thursday, highlighting that 45 per cent of them have been inoculated so far.
Addressing a press briefing, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said 45,93,427 beneficiaries have been vaccinated against COVID-19 till 1.30 PM on Thursday.
The states and Union Territories that have completed the first dose of vaccination for 50 per cent or more of their healthcare workers are Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tripura, Mizoram, Lakshadweep, Odisha, Kerala, Haryana, Bihar, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.
The states and UTs that have covered 30 per cent or less of healthcare workers in the COVID immunization drive till date are Sikkim, Ladakh, Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Assam, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur and Puducherry.
These states are being given suggestions by the Union Health Ministry over video-conferences and meetings about how to increase the immunization coverage, Bhushan said.
"The second dose of anti-coronavirus vaccine will be administered to healthcare workers from February 13. Also, 45 per cent of targeted healthcare workers have been vaccinated so far and by tomorrow almost half of the healthcare workers would be inoculated," NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul said.
In the COVID-19 immunization drive, 5,912 public health care centres and 1,239 private facilities are being used as vaccination session sites, he said.
"As we proceed, we would be involving the private healthcare sector in a much larger extent," Bhushan added.
Asked when these vaccines will be available for general public and senior citizens, Bhushan said, "Very soon. We have started frontline workers from February 3. Once this wave also stabilises, we will come to 50 years plus population. It will happen in the near future."
Supplementing it, Dr Paul said, private health sector is an integral part of India's healthcare system and there is an active, steady and highly satisfactory participation of the private sector facilities hand in hand with the public healthcare sector.
"This partnership will be further strengthened when we move to the next phase of our vaccination drive," he said.
He also spoke about the apprehensions prevailing about the expiry of COVID-19 vaccine.
"There is no question of a single dose getting wasted because we could not administer it on time before their expiry. Not a single dose will be wasted. We are monitoring the vaccines twice daily and we are very well aware as of which batches are expiring when," Dr Paul said.
He further said a satisfactory picture is emerging in terms of the pandemic.
"We are consistently performing well on almost all parameters," he said while cautioning against lowering the guard and stressed on following the COVID-19 appropriate behaviour.
The health secretary said two states - Kerala and Maharashtra - with 69,365 and 38,762 active cases respectively presently are contributing more than 70 per cent cases in the country. While Kerala account for 44.8 per cent of these cases, Maharashtra's share is 25 per cent of the active cases.