3rd phase of vaccination for people aged above 45 begins in Delhi

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New Delhi, Apr 1 (PTI) The third phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive which will span 65 lakh people aged above 45 in the national capital, began on Thursday.

By 6 pm, at least 56,531 beneficiaries had received the shots, a senior official of the Delhi health department said. The final figure at 9 pm, however, wasn't immediately available.

Of these, 49,471 people got their first jab while the second dose was administered to 7,060 people, the official said.

Four cases of minor adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) were reported, the official added.

The inoculation drive is taking place at a time when coronavirus cases have again mounted in the last few weeks.

In the first phase, starting January 16, over 3.6 lakh beneficiaries comprising healthcare workers and frontline workers, were vaccinated in Delhi.

Jabs were given to people aged 60 and above, and those in 45-59 age bracket with comorbidities in the second phase.

'In the third phase, people aged 45 and above as on January 1, 2022 are eligible for the vaccination, irrespective of their comorbidity status,' a senior government officer earlier said.

The vaccination centres, both at government and private facilities, will operate from 9 am to 9 pm.

Only registered beneficiaries can be given vaccine shots between 9 am and 3 pm while the unregistered ones can take the jabs from 3 pm to 9 pm. They just need to carry their Aadhaar card or any other valid identity proof, an official said.

The third phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive will span 192 health facilities, including 136 private hospitals in the national capital.

The vaccines will be administered free of cost at government hospitals and health centres, while up to Rs 250 per dose will be charged at private health facilities.

Sahar Qureshi, Medical Superintendent, Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, said, “We commenced with phase three of the vaccination drive. The footfall was lesser than expected (if we compare with March 1) since it was a working day. However, this will rise during the upcoming long weekend, starting Friday.' 'There are 10 vaccination centres being run here. We have enough vaccines in stock and can easily go up to 2,000 shots daily,' she said.

Apart from online registrations, the hospital is also taking walk-in beneficiaries and registering them on the spot, Qureshi said.

At some vaccination centres, a rush of beneficiaries was witnessed, but at many other sites the response was moderate.

On Wednesday, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain had said that 65 lakh eligible beneficiaries (aged above 45) will be given coronavirus vaccine at 500 sites, starting Thursday.

'We have enough vaccines available. The number of eligible beneficiaries is quite large. We will make efforts to complete the inoculation as soon as possible,' he had said.

According to North Delhi District Magistrate Isha Khosla, training has been imparted to ASHA and anganwadi workers, who will visit areas in their district, to encourage people to take the vaccine. Appointment for vaccination can be booked through the Co-WIN 2.0 portal.

A mobile number cannot be used for making more than four registrations. People eligible for vaccination also have to carry their photo identity cards, including Aadhaar card and voter card.

The city has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks.

Delhi recorded 2,790 fresh cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, the highest daily count this year while nine more people died due to the coronavirus infection, taking the death toll to 11,036, according to the city health department.

The positivity rate also mounted to 3.57 per cent amid in a massive surge in cases in the span of the last few weeks. PTI KND RHL