The Indian government on Tuesday announced that it would expand the vaccination drive to all individuals aged above 45 years from April 1, 2021. The decision has been taken by the cabinet on the advice of coronavirus task force and experts, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters.
But the announcement has met with a tinge of scepticism, as the date chosen by the government has become the talking point on social media and in some WhatsApp groups.
Several WhatsApp groups are buzzing with forwards about the vaccination drive expanding to all individuals aged above 45 years being an April Fool's Day prank. The cabinet's decision to pick April 1 as the date has raised some suspicions, using which many are forwarding claims that this information might not be true.
International Business Times received one of those forwards from WhatsApp groups claiming that vaccinating people above 45 is merely a prank on behalf of the government. However, the truth is far from it.
PIB India has also shared Javadekar's statement while addressing to the media on the cabinet's decision to vaccinate anyone aged above 45 in India. The minister urged eligible citizens to take the vaccine as early as possible. The second dose of Covishield vaccine can be administered at 4-8 weeks, the minister said.
Besides this, the fact that government would joke about such crucial information at a time when misinformation has already posed a huge challenge in its vaccination drive is ridiculous. India's vaccination drive is the largest in the world and it has been going about it in phases.
So far, people above the age of 60 and those above 45 with comorbidities were being vaccinated, apart from medical professionals and frontline workers. The next logical step is to expand the vaccination drive to those aged above 45, regardless of comorbidities.
International Business Times has reviewed the facts and concludes that India vaccinating individuals above 45 years is not an April Fool's Day prank.