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Govt temporarily halts new registration of frontline and healthcare workers for Covid vaccination. Here is why

"As per the recommendation of NEGVAC (National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19), it has been decided that no fresh registrations in categories of HCWs and FLWs will be allowed with immediate effect. Registrations of persons aged 45 years and above will continue to be permitted on the CoWIN portal," Rajesh Bhushan pointed out.

On Saturday (April 3), the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has written to all States and Union Territories to not issue new registrations of frontline workers (FLWs) and healthcare workers (HCWs) for Coronavirus vaccination.

In a letter by the Chief Secretary (MoHFW) Rajesh Bhushan, he informed that the vaccination programme for healthcare workers commenced on January 16 this year. This was followed by the inoculation of frontline workers from February 2 onwards. “All efforts have been made in close collaboration with States/UTs to saturate vaccination of HCWs and FLWs,” the letter read.

It further noted, “While tracking the progress, the timeline for completing vaccination of all HCWs and FLWs with 1st dose of COVID-19 vaccine has been extended multiple times and was finally fixed at 25th February 2021 for HCWs and 6 March 2021 for FLWs. Around one month has elapsed since these timelines and ever 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.”

However, Rajesh Bhushan noted that in some Covid Vaccination Centres, ineligible individuals are being registered and vaccinated as healthcare workers and frontline workers. He added that such a thing is being done in complete violation of the prescribed guidelines. “There have been 24% increase in HCW database
in the past few days,” he added.

In his letter, he reiterated that the matter was discussed in detail with state representatives and domain knowledge experts on Saturday. “As per the recommendation of NEGVAC (National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19), it has been decided that no fresh registrations in categories of HCWs and FLWs will be allowed with immediate effect. Registrations of persons aged 45 years and above will continue to be permitted on CoWIN portal,” Rajesh Bhushan pointed out.

Vaccination provisions for registered healthcare workers and frontline workers

The Secretary of Union Health Ministry emphasised that the healthcare workers, and the frontline workers, who have already registered on the CoWIN portal, must be vaccinated at the earliest. “I request you to kindly direct the concerned officials for wider dissemination of this policy decision for compliance. However, universal vaccination of already registered HCWs and FLWs should be ensured at the earliest,” the letter read.

On Saturday, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) stated that a total of 7,44,42,267 Coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered so far. It includes 89.53 lac HCWs (first dose), 53.06 lac HCWs (2nd dose), 96.19 lac FLWs (1st dose) and 40.18 lac FLWs (2nd dose).

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