The Union Health secretary chaired a crucial meeting with states and Union Territories (UTs) on the vaccination of age-appropriate groups and the expansion of the vaccination program as India gears up for its next phase of COVID-19 vaccination for those over 60 years of age and those over 45 years with co-morbidities from Monday.
In an official statement, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that the process of empaneling private hospitals as Covid vaccination centers was also discussed during the meeting. Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Health Ministry, Dr. R. S. Sharma, Chairman of the Empowered Committee on Vaccine Administration (Co-WIN) and Member of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration (NEGVAC) of COVID-19, today chaired a high-level video conference meeting with states and UTs.
Details of phase II of the vaccination drive
It is to be noted that the center had launched a nationwide vaccination for the front-line workers on 16th Jan. The second round of the drive will be expanded to all citizens above 60 years of age, and those within the age bracket of 45 to 59 years with specified co-morbidities.
The new phase of age-appropriate community vaccination would increase the number of Covid vaccinations in the nation. For a citizen-centric approach, the fundamental change in this process is that the people have been given the option of choosing their vaccination centers including those healthcare workers and frontline who have been skipped or left out of the on-going vaccination phase.
Moreover, the center has decided to engage private sector hospitals to leverage their ability to expand vaccination capabilities. Further, the basic features of version 2.0 of the digital platform CO-WIN, which is a population-scale program with a processing capacity of several thousand entries, were explained to the states and UTs.
Free vaccination at the government center
Vaccination at government immunization centers will be free of charge. A photo ID document for proof of age (preferably an Aadhar card or EPIC card) and a certificate of co-morbidity will have to be shown to the beneficiary (if required). However, those taking the COVID vaccine will have to pay a pre-fixed charge at any designated/empanelled private health facility.