New Delhi: The Union Health ministry said on Thursday that an advisory has been issued to all states and Union Territories to expand Covid-19 vaccination to all public healthcare facilities along with medical centres empanelled in the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) and PM Jan Aarogya Yojna (PM-JAY) for the next phase of vaccination for people above 60 set to begin from March 1.
The ministry said that a meeting was held in this regard on Wednesday where the progress of ongoing vaccination was reviewed. "The meeting was held with all states and UTs on Wednesday to review progress of Covid-19 vaccination drives. They were advised to focus on improving the pace of vaccination," Joint Secretary, Health, Mandeep Bhandari, said.
The third phase of vaccination against Covid-19 will begin from March 1 and cover people above 60 and those above 45 years of age with comorbidities. While people will be vaccinated free of cost at government hospitals, those taking the shots at private hospitals will have to pay.
"People above 60 years of age and those above 45 years of age with comorbidities will be vaccinated at 10,000 government and over 20,000 private vaccination centres from March 1," Union Minister Prakash Javadekar had said on Wednesday.
"The vaccine will be given free of cost at government centres while the private centres will charge for the vaccination. The rate will be decided in next three or four days," he had said.
Meanwhile, the Union Health Ministry is engaged in talks with vaccine manufacturers and private hospitals to decide the charge for vaccination to all civilians.
India launched the world's largest vaccination drive on January 16 for the healthcare and frontline workers. According to government data, over 18 lakh people have been administered two doses of Covid vaccines so far. The cumulative vaccination coverage has crossed 1.3 crore recipients.
India's drugs regulator on January 3 approved Oxford Covid-19 vaccine Covishield, manufactured by the Pune-based Serum Institute, and the indigenously-developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country.
55% Of Eligible Healthcare Workers Get Second COVID Vaccine Jab
Over 18.5 lakh healthcare workers who had received the first dose of vaccines since the launch of Covid immunisation drive, have been inoculated with the second and final dose, whereas 2,44,511 of them received the second shot on Thursday, the Union Health Ministry said.
So far, the second dose vaccination has covered 55.23 per cent of those healthcare workers who are eligible to receive their second dose of vaccines, as per the ministry's data.
A total of 18,60,859 healthcare workers have been vaccinated with the second dose till February 25, the 14th day from the start of second dose administration, against 30,68,734 vaccinated till January 29, the 14th day of the first dose vaccination, the data showed.
Meanwhile, 3,95,884 vaccine doses were given through 12,988 sessions to healthcare and frontline workers till 6 p.m. on Thursday, the 41st day of the nationwide Covid-19 vaccination, as per the provisional report shared by the ministry.
"Out of this, 98,382 beneficiaries were vaccinated for the first dose and 63,458 received the second dose of vaccines," it added.
Meanwhile, the cumulative figure of vaccine doses has reached 1,30,67,047 across the country.
"These include 65,82,007 who have taken the 1st dose including 46,24,181 frontline workers and 18,60,859 of those healthcare workers who have taken the second dose," the ministry said.
Five cases of Adverse Event Following Immunisation (AEFI) have been reported related to the 1st dose vaccination and 3 cases related to the 2nd dose.
The said informed that seven states and a UT have vaccinated more than 80 per cent of the registered healthcare and frontline workers for the first dose. These are Bihar, Odisha, Tripura, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Uttarakhand and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
The ministry also said that 45 deaths among vaccine beneficiaries have been recorded so far (23 deaths in hospital and 22 outside), while 51 have been hospitalised so far, of which 26 were discharged after treatment, two are under treatment, and 23 persons have died.
"In last 24 hours, one person has been hospitalised at AIIMS Bhubaneswar. He is stable now," Joint Secretary, Health, Mandeep Bhandari, said.
The ministry however clarified that no case of severe AEFI ot death is attributable to vaccination so far. "The hospitalisations and even deaths post vaccination are not found linked with vaccines. Besides, their rate of occurrence to the vaccination is only 0.0004 per cent," Bhandari said.
The vaccination of the healthcare workers started on January 16 while the frontline workers started receiving the vaccine shots from February 2. From March 1, Covid-19 vaccination will be extended to people aged 60 years and above and those aged 45 years and above with comorbidities.