No more fresh registrations of healthcare and frontline workers will be allowed for getting vaccinated against COVID-19, the Centre said Saturday. However, it asked states and UTs to ensure universal vaccination of the already registered healthcare and frontline workers.
The health ministry said some ineligible beneficiaries were getting their names enlisted for vaccination against COVID-19, under this category, in violation of rules, due to which they had to take the decision of stopping registration in this category.
Besides, it said the healthcare and frontline workers have already got priority and enough time for getting vaccinated, and that the move will now help expand the vaccination drive’s coverage to more categories of people.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan communicated the ministry’s order to states and UTs, in which he said the registration for those above 45 will continue on the Co-Win portal.
The vaccination process for healthcare workers began with the first phase of the drive on January 16, with frontline workers, like the police and other administration members being brought under its purview on February 2. From March 1, the drive was expanded to cover those above 60 and above 45 with specified co-morbidities.
In his letter, Bhushan informed that the timeline for completing vaccination of all healthcare (HCWs) and frontline workers (FCWs) with COVID-19 vaccine first dose has been extended multiple times and was finally fixed at February 25 for HCWs and March 6 for FLWs.
Around a month has elapsed since these timelines and even after starting the vaccination of the population above 60 years, provision was made to register and vaccinate HCWs and FLWs with a view to ensure optimal coverage, he underlined.
“Various inputs have been received from different sources that in some of the COVID-19 vaccination centres, some ineligible beneficiaries are being registered as HCWs and FLWs and are getting vaccinated in complete violation of the prescribed guidelines,” he said.
There has been 24 per cent increase in HCWs database in the past few days.
“This issue was discussed with state representatives and domain knowledge experts in the NEGVAC meeting today, and as per the recommendation of National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC), it has been decided that no fresh registrations in categories of HCWs and FLWs will be allowed with immediate effect. Registrations of persons aged 45 years and above will continue to be permitted on CoWIN portal,” he said in the letter.
Related news | Third dose of Covaxin gets approval for clinical trials
“I request you to kindly direct the officials concerned for wider dissemination of this policy decision for compliance. However, universal vaccination of already registered HCWs and FLWs should be ensured at the earliest,” he added.
The cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in India has crossed 7.44 crore, the Union health ministry said on Saturday. Currently, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and the Serum Institute-produced Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine Covishield are being used for the inoculation process across the country.
(With inputs from agencies)