In a big boost to India’s inoculation drive amid a surge in new Covid-19 cases, the Central Government has eased the age limit on vaccination, allowing all those above 45 years in age to get the dose from 1 April.
The nationwide vaccination drive was rolled out on 16 January with healthcare workers getting inoculated while frontline workers began getting the shots from 2 February.
The second phase of the world’s largest vaccination campaign commenced on 1 March for those who are over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions.
The government’s move to ease the age limit for coronavirus vaccination is expected to provide a big boost to the inoculation programme in the country amid a recent spurt in daily Covid-19 cases in some states.
In another major development, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued new guidelines, asking all states to enhance the proportion of RT-PCR tests, strictly enforce the ‘test-track-treat’ protocol and speed up the pace of vaccination to cover all priority groups.
Union minister Prakash Javadekar has said that now even people without comorbidities who are more than 45 years of age can get vaccinated.
"Today after discussion and on the advice of the task force and scientists, it was decided that from April 1 the vaccine will open for everybody above 45 years of age," he said.
"Our appeal is that all above 45 years should take vaccine as early as possible, that will provide them the shield against coronavirus and they should register for getting vaccinated."
Javadekar said the Cabinet also decided that the second dose of the vaccine can be taken between four and eight weeks, on the advice of doctors. It was allowed to be taken between four to six weeks earlier, but scientists have now said that taking the second dose between four and eight weeks gives improved results.
He said till this day, 4.85 crore doses of the vaccine against Covid-19 have been administered with more than 32 lakh people getting the jabs in the last 24 hours, which was the highest single-day vaccination so far.
Vaccines are available in enough number and there is no scarcity and the supply chains and supply line is intact, he said.
Report by Chetali S M
Reported on – 24/03/2021