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Covid vaccine drive set to gather pace from Monday

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 26, 2021

Health workers arrive to screen passengers at the CSMT railway station, owing to surge in Covid-19 cases in Mumbai, on Friday   -  PTI

Opened to private sector; rate to be set; Co-WIN to be upgraded over weekend

The country’s Covid vaccination drive will gather speed from Monday as the government opens it up for people above the age of 60 and those in the 45-59 age group with co-morbidities. There will be no inoculation over the weekend as the digital platform, Co-WIN portal, is to be upgraded for allowing self-registration.

The nitty-gritty of the expanded vaccination campaign were discussed with the health authorities of States and Union Territories at a virtual meeting chaired by Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and RS Sharma, who heads the empowered group on vaccine administration that manages the Co-WIN portal.

Till now, self-registration was not an option in Co-WIN as government agencies were uploading the data of beneficiaries — healthcare/frontline workers directly. Now, it will allow self-registration, onsite registration and cohort registration for target groups identified by the State and UT authorities.

Role for private sector

The next phase of vaccination will see private sector playing a bigger role. Apart from government health facilities including primate and community health centres as also Ayushman Bharat wellness centres, private health-care facilities empanelled by Central Government Health Scheme and Ayushman Bharat scheme will be allowed to offer vaccination.

While the vaccination will be free of cost at government facilities, beneficiaries may have to pay at private vaccination centres at rates to be decided by the Health Ministry.

Apart from Aadhaar and voter ID cards, beneficiaries can use the ID proof used at the time of registering for vaccination for accessing the session sites. Those availing the vaccination because of co-morbidities may have to produce a certificate to that effect from a registered medical practitioner. Healthcare and frontline workers, who missed out the previous phases, would also be eligible for the shot.

Nearly, 1.38 crore vaccinations were carried out across the countrytill Friday. A total of 16,577 new Covid-19 cases were reported including 8,702 cases in Maharashtra and 3,677 in Kerala. Six States accounted for 86 per cent of the total cases in the country. Other States, which are witnessing an increase in cases are Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Gujarat.

The Home Ministry has extended the existing guidelines on surveillance and containment for Covid-19 pandemic till March 31.

Published on February 26, 2021

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