The Union cabinet on Wednesday gave the go ahead to the second phase of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccination from March 1, Union minister Prakash Javadekar announced at a press conference.
He also said that people above the age of 60, and 45-year-olds with comorbidities can get the jabs at government as well as private clinics. While private hospitals will charge the patients for the jabs, those going to government clinic will be administered the vaccine for free, he added.
“The amount they would need to pay will be decided by the health ministry within 3-4 days as they are in discussion with manufacturers and hospitals,” said Javadekar.
Meanwhile, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who was also present during the briefing, said he expects that most of his colleagues will pay for their vaccines.
The government has been ramping up the existing nationwide vaccination drive, which began on January 16, to start the next phase of inoculation. The urgency of ramping up the drive has been compounded by strong signs since last week that the country may be entering its second wave of Covid-19 infections.
Healthcare workers – government as well as private – sanitation workers, other frontline workers, defence forces, police and other paramilitary forces are being vaccinated in the first phase.
In the second phase, those above 50 years and those under 50 years with co-morbid conditions will be vaccinated. The second phase of the vaccination will also include armed forces and police personnel.
Oxford-AztraZeneca’s Covishield and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech – approved by India’s drug regulator – are being used in the vaccination.0