India will vaccinate those above the age of 50 years in its next phase of Covid-19 inoculation drive. The priority list drawn by the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC) recommended that after vaccinating nearly 30 million health care and frontline workers, the next should be those above 50 years of age, including those with comorbidities.
The above 50 years of age category to be vaccinated on priority has been sub-divided into further categories — those above 60 years of age and in the specified comorbid groups, and those between 45 and 59 years of age, reported Hindustan Times.
Vaccinating the entire population of 1.3 billion people simultaneously is not feasible, hence, the government has had to prioritise, said a senior government official. The government had placed health care and frontline workers as the top priority as this category was at maximum risk of the virus, and extending the drive for general population, the age group has been further sub-divided, he said.
The Union health ministry on Tuesday announced that at least 2 million vaccine doses were being administered across the country, making it the highest in a single day so far.
The government is now planning to scale up the vaccination drive to include five million per day, said Dr NK Arora, member of National Task Force on Covid-19 related matters. “Vaccination centres will also be expanded to anywhere between 50,000 to 100,000 across the country to make it possible. All this is doable as we have the capacity and have vaccinated about 170 million children in a week against Polio under the national immunisation drive,” HT quoted him as saying.
The government has taken several measures over the past few weeks to ramp up the Covid-19 inoculation drive including changes in the CoWIN platform which will now allow users to register themselves amongst other services.
The Centre on Tuesday also asked states to involve private sector hospitals in the vaccination drive and provide enough stocks to last at least for 15 days to facilitate booking of slots well in advance for eligible beneficiaries. States have been urged to leverage the private sector to the maximum in order to enhance coverage of the drive.
According to Dr K Srinath Reddy, founder of the Public Health Foundation of India, as more India-manufactured vaccines will start to get added and more beneficiaries in the general population will start to get inoculated, it will build confidence for the vaccine among the public.