India on Monday, March 1, will begin the second phase of its coronavirus vaccination drive to cover 10 crore people across the country. The government, in this phase, will vaccinate people over 60 and individuals over 45 with comorbidities to rein in the rising number of more infectious virus strains leading to a spurt in COVID-19 cases in some states.
Registrations to get vaccinated opened at 9 am at www.cowin.gov.in and the Aarogya Setu app with walk-in enrolments in some places as well.
The government had said on Saturday, February 27, that those with the presence of one of the 20 comorbidities, comprising diabetes and heart failure with hospital admission in the past one year, will be given priority in this phase of the vaccination drive. India began its mass vaccination drive on January 16 to inoculate 3 crore healthcare and frontline workers.
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Top developments regarding COVID-19 vaccination phase-2:
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine on Monday morning at Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). He was administered indigenous 'Covaxin' by Bharat Biotech. The Centre, under this phase, is aiming to inoculate 30 crore people by August. All Chief Ministers, MPs, and MLAs over 50 are likely to be vaccinated in the coming days.
- Over 16,000 private and government hospitals, which are empanelled under Ayushman Bharat PMJAY, CGHS, and state schemes, have been allowed to operate as COVID vaccination centres.
- All beneficiaries, irrespective of the mode of access, i.e., via online registration or on-site enrolment, must be advised to carry their Aadhar Card, electoral photo identity card (EPIC), photo ID card specified at the time of enrolment in case of online registration, certificate of comorbidity for citizens in the age group of 45 to 59 years, and employment certificate/official ID (either but with photo) for healthcare workers (HCWs) and frontline workers (FLWs). These documents must be carried along for verification at the time of vaccination.
- The Centre has said it will allow people to choose COVID vaccination centres while registering. The individuals may also have a choice of three to four vaccines in a few weeks, Dr. Randeep Guleria, AIIMS Director, told NDTV on Saturday, February 27. "In a few weeks from now, we may have three or four vaccines. You can't have all of them available in one centre. One centre will be giving only one vaccine. But it is likely that in your area you may have more than one vaccine provided in different private hospitals and therefore it may indirectly give you some choice because you would know which vaccine is being given at which centre. But you can't go to a site and ask for one vaccine or the other," he said.
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- Several healthcare and frontline workers have been hesitant to take the Covaxin shot, which was granted approval without late-stage efficacy data. According to Reuters, only 11% of vaccinated people have opted for the jab.
- The two vaccines being used in the government's vaccination drive are Covishield, developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, and made by the Serum Institute of India, and the indigenous Covaxin, developed by Bharat Biotech and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
- Drug regulator Drugs Controller General of India (DGCA) is expected to approve more vaccines in the coming months, comprising Cadila Healthcare's ZyCov-D, and Russia's Sputnik-V.
- Private hospitals are allowed to charge up to Rs 250 for a single dose of the vaccine, whereas all jabs at government facilities will be administered free of cost. As per the Union Health Ministry, the Rs 250 charge will comprise the vaccine cost (Rs 150) plus service charge (Rs 100).
- Total 20 medical conditions, specified by the government, that make those between 45 and 60 eligible for the coronavirus vaccine comprise, diabetes, hypertension, post-cardiac transplant, end-stage kidney disease on haemodialysis, and heart failure with hospital admission in the past year, among others. Beneficiaries in this age group will have to furnish a certificate of comorbidity, photo identity card (Aadhaar or voter ID) or employment certificate.
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