The second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive, aiming to cover people above 60 and those above 45 with co-morbidities, began on Monday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi taking his first dose at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi.
“Took my first dose of the COVID19 vaccine at AIIMS. Remarkable how our doctors and scientists have worked in quick time to strengthen the global fight against COVID-19. I appeal to all those who are eligible to take the vaccine. Together, let us make India COVID-19 free!” Modi tweeted after being administered a shot of Covaxin by sister P Niveda, a nurse from Puducherry.
Registrations for vaccination will open for the general public at 9 am at www.cowin.gov.in and the Aarogya Setu app. Walk-in vaccinations will also be available at some places. Vaccination would happen from 9 am to 3 pm from March 1 onwards and appointments can be booked before 3 pm.
This is the second leg of India’s mass vaccination drive which began on January 16, inoculating almost 1.43 crore health and frontline workers out of a target of 3 crore people.
The Centre aims to vaccinate around 30 crore of India’s population by August at a time when a spurt in COVID-19 cases has been witnessed in Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
The vaccinations will happen in around 10,000 private hospitals under Ayushman Bharat programme and over 600 private hospitals under the Central Government Health Scheme.
As per the government’s SOP for the second phase of vaccination, the Centre will procure and supply the vaccines – both Serum Institute’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin – to all states, but the vaccine’s name will not be disclosed to the beneficiary during the administration of the shot.
Considering the reluctance shown by people to get vaccinated in the first phase, especially over taking a Covaxin jab, the government has said that in the coming days it may allow people to choose their vaccine.
Currently, beneficiaries can opt out if the vaccine is not of their choice.
A single mobile number can be used to register at least four beneficiaries, however, their ID card must be different, the Centre’s SOP said.
The second dose will be scheduled for the 29th day from the first dose, during the time of the appointment of the first dose itself. However, the beneficiary can change the slot for the second dose between the 29th day and the 42nd day of receiving the first dose.
As per the guidelines, the districts have to pre-register their COVID-19 Vaccination Centres on the Co-Win app before registration is open for people.
“States/UTs will decide the target number of doses to be administered in a Vaccination Cycle, based on already available vaccine doses and additional doses likely to be available in a Vaccination Cycle,” the Centre has said.