- India began its coronavirus vaccination drive on January 16
- From April 1, people over 45 years are eligible to be vaccinated: Centre
- Do not delay 2nd dose beyond the 8th week of getting 1st dose: Centre
New Delhi: On March 23, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) announced that everybody over the age of 45 years would be eligible for receiving the vaccination against COVID-19 from April 1. Currently, vaccination is open to only those above 60 and those above 45 with co-morbidities are being inoculated. With this, the Centre intends to ramp up the vaccination drive. According to experts, this is a welcome move, in view of the alarming surge in the new cases being witnessed by the country. The ministry said that the surge is driven in part by laxity in following COVID protocols and the spread of the more contagious mutant strains. The government has urged people to follow the COVID-19 preventive measures like wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, hand hygiene among others and said that all eligible people should come forward to get themselves immunised. With an aim to clarify doubts regarding the second dose of vaccination, the government answered some of the commonly asked questions.
Who can get vaccinated in this phase?
Starting April 1, everybody over the age of 45 is eligible to be vaccinated. The cut-off date has been set as January 1, 1977, which means that the person willing to get vaccinated must be born before this date.
What is the recommended time interval between the required two doses?
The country 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-Indian Council of Medical Research’s Covaxin. Both vaccines are required to be taken in two doses.
The time interval between two doses of the Covishield vaccine has been extended from four-six weeks to four-eight weeks from the first dose. Within the extended period, protection from the novel coronavirus will be greater if the second dose is taken between six and eight weeks after the first. The ministry said that both doses should be taken within the recommended time period for stronger immunity and both doses must be of the same vaccine type. The second dose of Covaxin can be taken four to six weeks after the first.
How can one register for the second dose?
Newly eligible beneficiaries can register and book an appointment through the Co-WIN (Covid Vaccine Intelligence Work) portal. Their slots will go live from April 1.
Since the auto-scheduling feature for the Covishield vaccine has been removed, both new beneficiaries and those who have already received their first dose can now choose when to get the second dose.
In case, there are any problems related to registration and booking appointments, beneficiaries can contact the national helpline ‘1075’.
When and how to take the Vaccination Certificate?
After getting the vaccine (whether the first or second dose), the vaccinee must ensure to take their Vaccination Certificate which can be either a hard copy or a digital copy. Vaccination and the certificate are free in government hospitals. Vaccination in private hospitals is capped at Rs. 250, and this includes the cost of the certificate.
Are there enough vaccines for everybody?
The government has stressed that there is no need to panic as there is no shortage of vaccine stock.
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.