The third phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive for 65 lakh people aged above 45 will begin on Thursday. The first phase, starting January 16, covered healthcare workers and frontline workers while jabs were given to persons aged 60 and above, and those in 45-59 age bracket with comorbidities in the second phase from March 1.
According to the government’s order, in the third phase, people aged 45 and above as on January 1, 2022 are eligible for vaccination, irrespective of their comorbidity status.
While the vaccines will be administered free of cost at government hospitals and health centres, while up to Rs 250 per dose (including Rs 100 service charge per dose) will be charged at private health facilities.
People can book an appointment for COVID-19 vaccination via CoWIN – a government portal. Beneficiaries also have an option to go for on-site registration. People can visit the nearest vaccination centre after 3 pm and choose on-site registration.
“From April 1 all people above 45 years of age will be eligible for vaccination. Advance appointment can be booked through cowin.gov.in. If you don’t want to do this, you can go to your nearest vaccination centre after 3 pm and go for on-site registration,” Union Health Secretary R Bhushan said on Tuesday.
India had granted emergency use authorisation to two COVID-19 vaccines — Covishield and Covaxin. While Covishield is being manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute of India, Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International is manufacturing Covaxin.
According to the government’s order, the two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be given at an interval of 28 days. The second dose of Covishield can be given up to eight weeks after the first.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has said that both Indian vaccines are safe and effective. “A lot of people still have doubts regarding vaccines. I urge them not to believe what is being circulated in WhatsApp university,” he said.
According to government data, the cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 6.43 crore.