In a press conference that is going on now, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar announced that the Narendra Modi government has stopped prioritising coronavirus vaccine recipients. This means that all citizens of India are now eligible for the shots to prevent contracting of Covid-19.
Whereas Javadekar quickly moved to briefing the media about the recent elections, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said elsewhere that the Centre had removed time constraint to increase the speed of vaccination. This comes a day after the government decided to allow private hospitals not affiliated to Ayushman Bharat, CGHS and state schemes to be included as centres for administrating the inoculations.
“The government has ended the time constraint to increase the speed of vaccination. Citizens of the country can now get vaccinated 24×7 at their convenience,” the union health minister tweeted.
The union health minister was replying to a news report that said private hospitals could choose any time window to vaccinate people.
The union government said that the hospitals did not necessarily have to stick to a fixed schedule to vaccinate beneficiaries against the killer virus. They could, the government said, extend or advance the vaccination schedule any day.
This is expected to ramp up the Covid-19 vaccination exercise as more people will become eligible for the life-saving vaccine doses.
Further, the flexible schedule allowed by the union government is applicable to both private and government hospitals since those involved in the vaccination drive are linked by the government’s CoWIN app and website.
This will help to avoid crowding at vaccination sites too.
More than 50 lakh people have registered themselves on the CoWIN portal, without any system glitch, since the window opened on 1 March, the government said, adding that around 5 lakh eligible beneficiaries over 60 or those aged between 45 to 60 years with comorbidities had received the first shot of Covid-19 vaccine till Tuesday evening.
The vaccination drive for the said group began on Monday morning, and the registration opened at 9 AM on the CoWIN portal.
Eligible beneficiaries can register and book an appointment for Covid-19 vaccination using the Co-WIN 2.0 portal or through other IT applications such as Aarogya Setu.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has said that the timeline of vaccinating between 9 am to 5 pm has been done away with.
After one has taken the first shot, the second vaccine jab will be automatically rescheduled at the same hospital, but if one is not in the city one can “schedule one’s appointment there also”, a government official said. “We will take care to ensure one doesn’t get two different vaccines at two jabs.”
“If the hospital has the capacity, the system permits them to do vaccination even after 5 pm in consultation with state governments. This has been briefed both to the state government as well as private and government hospitals,” Bhushan added.
Government gets vaccinated
President Ram Nath Kovind today received his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at RR Hospital, Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had received a shot of Covaxin made by Bharat Biotech on 1 March.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan receives Covid-19 vaccine at Thycaud government hospital in Thiruvananthapuram.
Meanwhile, India has reported 14,989 new Covid-19 cases, 13,123 discharges and 98 deaths in the last 24 hours, as per the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.