As COVID-19 vaccination for 45+ begins, politicians, celebrities get doses
Amid a worrying surge in COVID-19 cases in several states across India, the crucial third phase of the vaccination drive began today. As all citizens aged above 45 years became eligible for vaccination under this round, many political leaders and literary as well as film celebrities were spotted taking their first dose. Here's more on this.
Piyush Goyal, Jaganmohan Reddy got their first dose today
Political leaders who received their first shot of the vaccine included Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy, who got inoculated along with his wife. Further, Union Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal also took his first dose of the vaccine at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi. Uttar Pradesh Minister Brajesh Pathak also reportedly took his first vaccine dose today.
Goyal takes his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine
Union Health Secretary had held a meeting yesterday
On Wednesday, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, and Dr. RS Sharma, the chairperson of the Empowered Group on COVID-19 Vaccination, had chaired a high-level meeting with State Health Secretaries and the Mission Directors of the National Health Mission over the preparedness for the third phase. The states were directed to identify low vaccine coverage, particularly in districts witnessing a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Government aims to maintain vaccine wastage under 1%
At the meeting, it was highlighted that states must maintain vaccine wastage at less than 1 percent, against the present national average of 6 percent. The Health Ministry had earlier this week said that only 16.53 percent of the doses have been administered in the private sector, urging states to increase the private sector's participation in the vaccination process.
India began COVID-19 vaccination drive in January
India began its COVID-19 vaccination drive on January 16, as part of which 6,43,58,765 shots have been administered thus far. The country's drug regulator has so far given approval to two vaccines: 1) Covishield: The version of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University manufactured by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India. 2) COVAXIN: Developed by the Indian firm Bharat Biotech.
Who all are eligible in the current phase?
Starting today, all those above the age of 45 are eligible to be vaccinated. The cut-off date has been set as January 1, 1977, implying that you must have been born before this date to be eligible. In the previous phase, citizens aged between 45 and 59 but with comorbidities were being vaccinated. The government has now removed the comorbidities clause.
A brief about the COVID-19 situation in India
India has been witnessing a massive surge in coronavirus infections in the past few weeks. However, the spike is mostly concentrated in a few worst-hit states. In fact, of the 5.52 lakh total active cases, five states - Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab, and Chhattisgarh - collectively account for 79.30 percent of the cases. Maharashtra, meanwhile, leads with over 61 percent of the active caseload.