On Monday (April 19), the Modi government announced that all individuals between the age of 18-44 will be vaccinated against the Wuhan Coronavirus from May 1 onwards. The development came amidst the rising cases of Coronavirus in the country.
In an order released on Friday (April 23) by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), it has laid down guidelines for facilitating the systematic implementation of Phase III of the vaccination drive. The guidelines have been issued keeping in mind the cohort size, the number of individuals eligible for vaccination during a particular phase. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has specified that all efforts should be made to control overcrowding and law and order situation.
The order stated that it will be mandatory for both public and private covid vaccination centres to register on the CoWIN app, record details of all vaccination, issue digital certificates and report to CoWIN and AEFI (Adverse Event Following Immunization) systems. All previous guidelines required for a health facility to be considered a Covid Vaccination Centre (CVC) will remain unchanged. This includes the availability of sufficient cold chain equipment, capacity, trained vaccinators, rooms, and the ability to managed AEFI.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan writes to Additional Chief Secretaries/Principal Secretaries, Health of all states/UTs regarding the decisions for facilitating the systematic implementation of phase III of the vaccination drive from 1st May 2021. #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/8m6zxAJisV— ANI (@ANI) April 25, 2021
“Henceforth, it will not be necessary for the State/UT Governments to send any Proposals to the Ministry for approval of new private CVCs, prior to their registration on CoWIN. The State/UT Government may designate an appropriate Authority at State/District level that will ensure that only facilities eligible (as per the criteria…) are registered on CoWIN as a CVC,” the order stated. It must also be mentioned that a Designated Authority will have to make a decision regarding the application within 2 days of receiving the application.
The private hospitals, which will provide vaccination services, can procure the vaccines directly from the manufacturers but only from the supply not meant for the Government of India. It may be noted that the manufacturers will sell 50% vaccine doses to the central govt, and the rest 50% to both state governments and private hospitals. The private CVCs should declare the types of vaccines, stockpile, and their prices on the CoWIN app. “All vaccination slots at private CVCs will continue to be offered only for online appointment from CoWIN or Arogya Setu. On-site registration/ appointments will be allowed only if any doses are left in the last opened vial(s) so as to minimize vaccine wastages,” the order clarified.
Individuals above 45 years eligible for vaccines but with a catch
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has clarified that all healthcare workers (HLWs), frontline workers (FLWs), and individuals above the age of 45 will continue to remain eligible for vaccination. It further said, “The State/UT Governments, in the event of procurement of vaccine doses directly from the manufacturers, may decide to expand the coverage from the doses so procured to reduce the cut-off age for eligibility for vaccination at the Government CVCs.” Such a feature will provide transparency to beneficiaries, prior to online booking.
“Citizens below the age of 45 years shall also be eligible to receive vaccination from a Government CVC in a
State/UT where that State/UT decides to lower the minimum cut off age for eligibility of beneficiaries to less than 46 years, for covering such additional eligible beneficianes from the vaccine stocks directly procured by the respective State/UT Government from vaccine manufacturers,” the order clarified on vaccinating individuals outside the current cohort.
Registration for new covid vaccination centres to be done in mission mode
The eligible individuals between the age of 18-44 years (as of Jan 1, 2022) can register online from Wednesday (April 28) onwards. Slot for online appointments on the CoWIN app will open from May 1 onwards. The States have been directed to register new Covid Vaccination Centres in a ‘campaign mode’. The order further added, “Registration of willing hospitals meeting the eligibility criteria may be done on CoWIN on an expeditious basis.” The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has also called for the training of CVC site managers, verifiers and vaccinators.
While directing the States to prevent overcrowding and possible deterioration of law and order situation in the country, the MoHFW pointed out, “The system of supplying vaccine stocks to private CVCs and collection of Rs. 150 per dose, will cease to exist from 1 May 2021.” The State government will have to do complete stockpiling, assessment of funds deposited by private CVCs, and utilization of vaccine doses until April 30 before issuing new stocks to private covid vaccination centers.