- The second phase for COVID vaccination is set to begin on March 1
- Around 27 crore people would be vaccinated in this stage: Prakash Javedkar
- Those above 45 with chronic diseases may get the COVID-19 vaccine
New Delhi: The COVID-19 vaccine roll out in India FROM January 16 prioritised around 3 crore healthcare and frontline workers for getting their shots in the first phase. As of February 24, only around 1.21 crore people have been vaccinated; of these, almost 14 lakh have received the mandatory second shot. Now, the second phase for vaccination is set to begin from March 1. It has been announced that the people who are aged above 60 and those above 45 having comorbidities, will be eligible to get their vaccine shots in this phase.
Those above 45 years of age will require a signed medical certificate, which will attest to the severity of their illness for them to qualify for COVID-19 vaccine in this phase. Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said that around 27 crore people would be vaccinated in this stage, of whom around 10 crore are over 60.
Dr Suneela Garg, an advisor to the ICMR, told NDTV that as the vaccination drive expands to include larger population, there will be segregation based on several criteria, and that each sub-group will have separate timelines.
NDTV reached out to a spokesperson from ICMR who, on the condition of anonymity, said that the list of what constitutes a co-morbidity for those over 45 includes chronic diseases of the heart, lung, kidney and liver, as well as diabetes, cancer, severe asthma, and mental or learning disabilities.
Dr Garg, who is also on the Lancet Commission’s Covid-19 India Taskforce, however said that those with comorbidities like ‘diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases’ will be prioritised above people with other diseases.
People belonging to these categories of comorbidity would have to fill a single-page Yes/No form confirming their medical condition, and then get the form signed by a general physician. They will then have to present this form at the vaccination centre in order to get their vaccine shots.
Dr Garg also said that the private sector will play a major in the vaccination drive.
The government has capped the price of the vaccine at Rs 250 for the privately run vaccine centres. While Union Minister Prakash Javadekar has confirmed that the shots would be free at all government vaccine centres.
The mobile app – CoWin (COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network) would be used to help people register for their shots and locate their nearest vaccination centres. CoWin is currently restricted to government employees.
Former telecom regulator Ram Sewak Sharma, who heads the operations under the CoWin platform told NDTV that one app can be used to make up to four appointments. He said,
You can use somebody else’s phone as well so you need not have a smartphone yourself. On one mobile phone, you can make four appointments.
This will help them book a vaccination appointment at their nearest centre. Mr Sharma also said that people will not be able to choose which vaccine they will get but they can choose the date and centre.
There will be multiple inlets. You can go to the website of the CoWIN app which is cowin.gov.in and there also you will be able to register. You also can go to the Seva Kendra in the village which is the common service centre to get yourself enrolled. There are 2.5 lakh common service centres in 6 lakh villages. We have changed vaccination programme from a supply-driven to a demand-driven initiative. People who want to get vaccinated will be able to choose the centre. This approach is more citizen-centric, he said.
Furthermore, eligible people can also walk-in and get the vaccinations, but this will depend upon the availability of doses. Mr Sharma tells NDTV,
Like in a train you have certain compartments which are reserved and certain compartments which are unreserved. Which means you can walk in. So basically you can also walk in to a centre and if there are vacancies, you will be able to get yourself vaccinated. States will be deciding what percentage of a particular centre’s capacity will be online and offline.
When it comes to the registration process, Mr Sharma explained,
CoWIN app ecosystem consists of a number of apps in the backend. One will be timetable publication app. One other is to verify your identity and eligibility. Immediately after vaccination, you are issued a certificate. That is the third part. The most important part is how do you connect with the system. These front-end applications can be done by many include Aarogya Setu which will get an extension. There will also be the web portal of the CoWIN app. And there will be IVRs and call centres. All apps and platforms will be ready by first of March. People will be able to register, make appointments and get vaccinated.
The ICMR spokesperson also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi may also be vaccinated in the second phase, as will all Chief Ministers, MPs and MLAs above the age of 50.
Current Status Of COVID-19 Vaccination In India
India has so far approved two vaccines for emergency use – Covishield, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, and manufactured by the Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.
A third – Russia’s Sputnik V – has also applied for emergency use and this is being considered by a SEC (subject expert committee). Sputnik V has an efficacy rate of 91.6 per cent, which is higher than Covishield’s 70 per cent, while Covaxin’s efficacy has not yet been confirmed.
A total of 1,30,67,047 (1.3 crore) vaccine doses have been given through 2,77,303 (2.77 lakh) sessions, as per the Health Ministry’s COVID-19 vaccine provisional report on Friday, February 26.
These include 65,82,007 (65.82 lakh) healthcare workers (HCWs) (75.5 per cent), who have taken the first dose and 18,60,859 (18.6 lakhs) HCWs (63.6 per cent) who have taken the second dose, along with 46,24,181 (46.2 lakh) frontline workers (FLWs) who took their their first dose. (45.1 per cent).
Total 3,95,884 vaccine doses were given till 6 pm on Thursday, the 41st day of the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination. Of these, 1,51,373 beneficiaries were vaccinated for first dose and 2,44,511 HCWs received their second dose of vaccine as per the provisional report, the ministry said.
All states and UTs conducted the COVID-19 inoculations on Thursday.
Four states and UTs have vaccinated more than 75 per cent of the registered HCWs and FLWs for the first dose.
These are, Rajasthan, Lakshadweep, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, the ministry stated.
Eight states have vaccinated more than 80 per cent registered HCWs for the first dose.
These are, Bihar, Odisha, Tripura, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
On the other hand, four states and UT have reported less than 50 per cent coverage of registered HCWs for the first dose, the ministry said.
These are Nagaland, Punjab, Chandigarh and Puducherry.
Six states and Union Territories – Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Tripura, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand, have registered more than 60 per cent coverage for the first dose among FLWs.
On the other hand, eight states and UT have reported less than 25 per cent coverage of registered FLWs for the first dose, namely Arunachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Manipur, Assam, Meghalaya, Kerala and Puducherry. The ministry said five states that recorded highest number of vaccinations are UP, Gujarat, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
NDTV also asked the ICMR spokesperson for the reason behind falling short on the target of vaccinating 3 crore healthcare and frontline workers, which stands currently at 1.23 crore. He said,
We are dealing with a certain amount of hesitancy within the healthcare community for getting vaccinated as well. We are almost halfway there.
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.