COVID-19 Vaccination for All Aged 45 & Above From 1 April: Centre

Prakash Javadekar said that all eligible people should immediately register themselves for the vaccination.

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From 1 April onwards, everyone above 45 years of age will be eligible for vaccination against COVID-19.

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday, 23 March, announced that the government has decided that from 1 April onwards, everyone 45 years of age and above will be eligible for vaccination against COVID-19.

Javadekar also requested that all eligible people should immediately register for the vaccinations.

Meanwhile, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Tuesday wrote a letter to the chief secretaries and/or administrators of states and union territories, informing them that the government had decided to expand the vaccination drive to those aged 45 and above, meaning that there would be no need for people between the age of 45 to 59 to show a comorbidity certificate from 1 April.

He also added in his letter that the Co-WIN software was also being modified for this purpose.

The letter further requests the addressees to direct concerned officials to undertake necessary measures to expand the vaccination drive and ensure wider dissemination of information among citizens for optimum utilisation of vaccines and vaccination centres.

Interval Between Covishield Doses Changed

The Union Minister also said that medical advice had now stated that the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine should be administered between the fourth and eighth week, particularly for Covishield.

Union Health Secretary Shri Rajesh Bhushan had on Monday, 22 March, written to the Chief Secretaries of all states and union territories in this regard, directing them to increase the interval period between the two doses of Covishield to four-eight weeks.

The interval was revisited by the National Technical Advisory on Immunisation Group (NTAGI) amid emerging scientific evidence. Following this, the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) also reconsidered the interval period.

The evidence suggests that protection against the virus is enhanced if the second dose is administered between six-eight weeks, but not later than the stipulated period of eight weeks.

No Scarcity of Vaccines

According to Javadekar, 4.85 crore people have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 80 lakh have also taken the second dose. Javadekar also assured that there is no scarcity of vaccines in the country.

He also said on Tuesday that the total number of cases with the UK, South Africa and Brazil variants of the coronavirus across the country is 795.

India had begun the second phase of vaccination against COVID-19 on 1 March, in which people above 60 years of age and those above 45 with co-morbidities were eligible to get the jabs.

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