Govt to vaccinate people above 50 from March 1, asks states, UTs to prepare – Hindustan Times

  • Bhushan pointed out that a large number of healthcare workers across the country are yet to be vaccinated against coronavirus disease and it is necessary to vaccinate them quickly in order for other healthcare services to resume in a full-fledged manner akin to pre-pandemic times.
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Shankhyaneel Sarkar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

UPDATED ON FEB 22, 2021 10:05 AM IST

The Centre has asked states and Union Territories to step up the pace of the ongoing Covid-19 vaccination process for healthcare workers as the government is planning to gear up its infrastructure to kickstart the inoculation of people aged over 50 years. Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote to chief secretaries of all states and Union Territories on Sunday, asking them to instruct workers involved in the vaccination drive to increase the number of days designated for inoculation to four days per week as soon as possible.

Bhushan advised officials across the country to ensure that all public facilities starting from district hospitals, sub-divisional hospitals, community health centres, primary health care centres, health and wellness centres, health sub-centres to tertiary level medical colleges, hospitals and institutes to step up their efforts as the nation plans to begin inoculating the elderly population and people with comorbidities starting March 1.

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“Further, the operational strategy for initiating the vaccination of the next priority group of elderly population and persons with comorbidities to be taken up in March 2021 is also being finalised,” Bhushan said in his letter. “You are requested to kindly direct the concerned officials to immediately undertake measures for expansion of COVID-19 vaccination drive. I look forward to your continued collaboration in this critical mission of national importance,” he added.

Bhushan pointed out that a large number of healthcare workers across the country are yet to be vaccinated against coronavirus disease and it is necessary to vaccinate them quickly in order for other healthcare services to resume in a full-fledged manner akin to pre-pandemic times. “As highlighted during several review meetings that have been conducted with the states and UTs, the pace of vaccination drive and its coverage needs to be accelerated exponentially to cover all identified beneficiaries in a minimum possible time,” Bhushan pointed out in his letter.

The daily increase in the number of Covid-19 cases across the country has concerned the state governments in Kerala and Maharashtra as well the Centre. The government has asked states to refocus their efforts on increased RT-PCR testing and containment of clusters where cases are on the rise.

According to the health minister, 11,085,173 vaccine doses have been administered through 230,888 sessions till Sunday. It has said that 6,391,544 healthcare workers have been administered the first dose of the vaccine, 960,642 given the second dose and 3,732,987 frontline workers have been vaccinated with the first dose.

(With inputs from PTI)

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