New Delhi: India’s problem of vaccine hesitancy now seems to have been replaced by vaccine eagerness. So much so that Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, in a letter to state governments, has flagged an unusual trend in which the number of healthcare workers in the country seems to have gone up by 24 per cent in the last few weeks.
A decision has now been taken to stop registrations of healthcare workers (HCWs) and frontline workers (FLWs) immediately.
“Various inputs have been received from different sources that in some of the CVCs [vaccination centres], some ineligible beneficiaries are being registered as HCWs and FLWs and are getting vaccinated in complete violation of the prescribed guidelines. There has been 24% increase in HCW database in the past few days. This issue was discussed with state representatives and domain knowledge experts in the NEGVAC meeting today that is 3/4/ 2021 and as per the recommendation of NEGVAC it has been decided that no fresh registrations in categories of HCW is and FLW is will be allowed with immediate effect,” Bhushan wrote in his letter addressed to health secretaries in the states. ThePrint has accessed the letter.
He added that registrations of persons aged 45 years and above will continue to be permitted on the CoWIN portal. CVCs are Covid-19 vaccination centres and NEGVAC stands for the National Expert Group for Vaccine Administration for Covid-19.
A total of 7,44,42,267 vaccine doses have been given, according to the provisional report till 8 pm Saturday. These include 89,53,552 HCWs who have taken the first dose, 53,06,671 HCWs who have taken the second dose, 96,19,289 FLWs who got the first dose, 40,18,526 FLWs who got the second dose, 4,57,78,875 for people aged 45 years and received the first dose, and finally 7,65,354 for 45 years old and above who received the second dose.
On Saturday, which was the 78th day of India’s national vaccination programme, a total of 13,00,146 vaccine doses were given till 8 pm. Of these, 1,86,621 beneficiaries were vaccinated with their first dose and 1,13,525 beneficiaries received the second dose. Final reports will be completed for the day by late tonight.
Registrations continued to ensure optimal coverage
Bhushan in his letter mentioned that even though the government had fixed a deadline of 25 February for HCWs and 6 March for FLWs to registered for the vaccination, in effect registrations had never stopped.
“All efforts have been made in close collaboration with states UTS to saturate vaccination of HCWs and FLWs. While tracking the progress, the timeline for completing vaccination of all HCWs and FLWs with the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine has been extended multiple times and was finally fixed as 25 February 2021 for HCWs and 6 March 2021 for FLWs. Around one month has elapsed since these timelines and even after starting vaccination of population above 60 years of age, provision was made to register and vaccinate HCWs and FLWs with a view to ensure optimal coverage,” he wrote.
(Edited by Manasa Mohan)