The Centre on Tuesday (April 6) ordered all its employees aged 45 years and above to get vaccinated as soon as possible, even as the country battles a severe second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an order issued by the Personnel Ministry, the government urged their employees to continue to follow COVID-appropriate behaviour even after vaccination. They were told that they should wash their hands and sanitise on a regular basis, wear a mask or face cover and observe social distancing, PTI reported.
After monitoring the situation very closely, the government had prioritised the groups for vaccination and from April 1 had further opened up its inoculation drive to include all persons who are 45 years and above. Till then, only people who were 60 years and above and people above 45 years with co-morbidities were allowed to take the jab.
In lieu of the order extending the age group of people eligible to take the vaccine, the government issued a statement to all Central government employees, who are 45 years and above “to get themselves vaccinated, so as to effectively contain the spread of COVID-19”.
Also, the registration for vaccination of healthcare workers (HCW) and frontline workers (FLW), which had been frozen due to fraudulent entries and misuse by ineligible candidates, has now been restarted. However, the catch is that the registration for vaccination can only be done at government hospitals.
Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote to the states on Monday about making the on-site registration facility for “genuinely leftover HCW/FLWs” in the age group between 18 years to 44 years, available to them once again. However, they can only register in government CVCs and have to mandatorily submit an original photo ID and an employment certificate copy.
Bhushan had stopped fresh registrations after an inexplicable 24% increase in the HCW database within a short time prompting the government to believe that the registrations could be of ineligible individuals.
The government’s decision to renew the registrations for these workers stemmed from the rise in infections and to ensure genuine workers are not left out from being vaccinated.
These official orders come amid an alarming spike in COVID-19 cases in the country in the last few weeks. India recorded over one lakh coronavirus cases on Monday, the highest-ever the country has seen. It is now being dubbed as the second worst-hit country in the world.
On Tuesday, India reported 96,982 cases and 442 deaths. The dramatic surge in cases have been attributed to mutant Covid variants and the public’s lax behaviour in observing COVID-19 safety protocols like wearing masks and maintaining social distance.
Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, have demanded that the vaccination drive be opened to all adults for rapid inoculations.