- India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive began on January 16
- People over 45 can register for vaccination from April 1: Prakash Javadekar
- The decision has been taken on the advice of COVID task force: Mr Javadekar
New Delhi: Amid the surge in COVID-19 cases in India, Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday (March 23) announced that everyone above the age of 45 years can now get themselves vaccinated against COVID-19 from April 1. Announcing the cabinet’s decision to expand the COVID-19 vaccination drive, Mr Javadekar said, “Today, after discussion and advice from the taskforce and scientists, it has been decided that from April 1, the vaccine will open for everybody above 45 years of age. We request that all eligible people should immediately register and get vaccinated because that is basically the shield against the disease.”
From April 1, anybody who is over 45 years of age will be eligible for #COVID19 vaccination even though he/she has no co-morbidities.
— PIB India (@PIB_India) March 23, 2021
At present, only citizens who are above 60 and those over 45 with other comorbidities like diabetes, hypertension, cancer are allowed to get vaccination. To expand the reach of India’s coronavirus vaccination drive, it was decided to open vaccination for everyone above 45 years of age. People in this age group can start registering for vaccination from April 1.
At a press briefing, Mr Javadekar also informed that India has a sufficient quantity of COVID-19 vaccines and one should not worry about it. He also shared that till today, over 4.85 crore people have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Mr Javadekar also talked about change in the dosage pattern of one of the two COVID-19 vaccines currently being used in India – Covishield. In a letter to states and union territories on March 22, the Union Health Ministry has recommended to provide the second dose of Covishield at an interval of four to eight weeks after the first dose, instead of an earlier practised interval of four to six weeks.
Talking about the same, Mr Javadekar said,
The second dose has to be between four to eight weeks. Doctors will decide when it is best to take the second shot.
India’s Coronavirus Vaccination Drive
India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive was launched on January 16 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In the first phase of the drive, India aimed to inoculate 3 crore healthcare and frontline workers but was been able to administer over 1.43 crore vaccinate doses (as on March 1, 8 AM).
The second phase of the vaccination drive began on March 1 at 9 AM and the government hopes to vaccinate 30 crore people by August. The second phase of the drive will cover people over 60 and people above the age of 45 with comorbidities. The centre has specified 20 comorbidities among people between 45 and 59 years who will get the vaccine. However, now, the criterion of comorbidities has been dropped.
The central government has also involved private hospitals in the second phase of the vaccination. While the vaccination is free at government hospitals, beneficiaries will have to pay Rs. 250 per dose at private vaccination centres. Eligible beneficiaries can register themselves through www.cowin.gov.in and the Aarogya Setu app and there will be walk-in vaccinations in some places as well. The second phase of the drive allows beneficiaries to choose from either of the two COVID-19 vaccines currently available.
India has given emergency use license to two COVID-19 vaccines – Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield which is being manufactured by Serum Institute of India in Pune and Bharat Biotech-ICMR’s Covaxin.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.