The Centre directed the states and UTs on Saturday that no new registrations of healthcare and frontline staff will be closed because some ineligible beneficiaries in this group were having their names enlisted for COVID-19 vaccination in breach of law.
In a message, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan confirmed that registration of people aged 45 and up will continue on the Co-WIN portal, and he urged states/UTs to ensure compulsory vaccination of already enrolled healthcare workers (HCWs) and frontline workers (FLWs) as soon as possible.
The nationwide vaccination campaign began on January 16 with the vaccination of HCWs, and the vaccination of FLWs began on February 2.
The next process of COVID-19 vaccine started on March 1 for individuals above the age of 60, as well as those aged 45 and up who have some co-morbid conditions.
Bhushan stated in the letter that every attempt has been made in near collaboration with states and UTs to saturate vaccination of HCWs and FLWs.
According to him, the deadline for completing vaccination of both HCWs and FLWs with the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine has been extended numerous times and is now scheduled for February 25 for HCWs and March 6 for FLWs.
Even after beginning vaccination of the population over 60 years, provision was made to enrol and vaccinate HCWs and FLWs with the aim of ensuring maximum coverage, he said.
“Various inputs have been obtained from various sources that some disqualified beneficiaries are being enrolled as HCWs and FLWs and are getting vaccinated in full breach of the prescribed guidelines in some of the COVID-19 vaccination centres (CVCs),” Bhushan said.
According to the Health Ministry, 7.44 crore vaccine doses have been used so far throughout the world. There are 89,53,552 HCWs who took the first dose and 53,06,671 HCWs who took the second dose, as well as 96,19,289 FLWs who took the first dose and 40,18,526 FLWs who took the second dose.
The first and second doses of the vaccine were given to 4,57,78,875 and 7,65,354 people over 45 years old, respectively.
Concerns over the second round of outbreaks have intensified the vaccine program. Maharashtra, Punjab, Gujarat, and Delhi have all registered an increase in COVID-19 cases on a regular basis.