Next phase of Covid-19 vaccination from March 1

The Union government on Wednesday said people over 60 years and those above 45 with comorbidities can get dosed at a government centre or a private hospital from March 1. While the vaccine will be available for free at the 10,000-odd government healthcare facilities, the beneficiaries will have to pay at the estimated 20,000 private facilities that are expected to be roped in.

High-level multi-disciplinary teams have been sent to Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Jammu and Kashmir. The Covid-19 vaccination drive began on January 16 and have so far administered 1.07 crore doses. India is one of the fastest countries to achieve this feat. Also, 14 lakh beneficiaries have already received the second dose. The healthcare and frontline workers were vaccinated free of cost. Earlier, the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 had said that the combined population of those over 50 years and those less than 50 years with comorbidities is about 27 crore.

Of the about 10,000 hospitals that were roped in for the first phase of the vaccination drive — for healthcare and frontline workers — only about 2,000 were private facilities. However, the private sector will play a larger role in the next phase.