States, UTs asked to expand vaccination: Union Health Ministry

2/25/2021

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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.

Source: IANS

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