Union Minister Prakash Javadekar announced today that the Central Government has cleared the proposal for all persons above the age of 45 years be permitted to take the vaccine.
This announcement was a seemingly expected outcome from the meeting of the Prime Minister with the State Chief Minister's, in which the central government was asked to propose that vaccines be permitted for all above 45 years of age.
India had started its vaccination drive on January 16 2021, subsequent to which the vaccine was administered to health and front line workers in the first phase, followed by senior citizens above the age of 60 in the second phase that began on 1 March. Persons below 60 years but above the age of 45 and having certified co-morbidites were also allowed to take the vaccine. Over 4.7 Crore people have been vaccinated across India, said the health ministry. Dr Paul of Niti Aayog has certified that Covishield and Covaxin are the safest vaccines.
In the first phase, the government had borne the entire expenditure of the vaccination. However, the government, in order to improve the vaccination infrastructure, had roped in 10,000 private hospitals around the country, to administer the vaccine as COVID Vaccination Centers (CVCs) on a chargeable basis, keeping the ceiling at Rs 250 per dose. Those opting for vaccination at the private centers had to pay, while it was still free in government centers.
Interval between Vaccination doses was revised on Monday 22 March
Initially the central government and health department had permitted for the second dose to be taken between 28-42 days of administering the first dose. On Monday 22 March, the interval was revised to between 28-56 days for COVISHIELD Vaccine only. This change in interval was seemingly a precursor to the announcement that was made today. The interval between the two doses has been spread thin, to ensure that maximum individuals are able to take the benefit of vaccination, looking at the limited production capacity of the vaccine. This was mentioned in a post done on Monday by UdaipurTimes.