Fri. Nov 18th, 2022

New Delhi: With rising covid-19 cases coupled with a low uptake of vaccines among priority groups, the Centre is considering including all persons aged above 45 years in its immunization drive.The deliberation is also because several states have been urging the union health ministry to revise its vaccination strategy for wider coverage.
Also Read | Why India needs to look east at Taiwan
Inclusion of all persons above age of 45 for covid-19 vaccination is under consideration. Gradually the government anyway has to inoculate all groups in stages. But currently, the number of covid-19 infections is rising and there is a need to protect maximum number of people from the disease by vaccinating them. We are working on the final details of the roll out before taking a decision,” said Samiran Panda, head, epidemiology and communicable diseases, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Panda, also a member of the governments National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC), had earlier said the government would tailor the covid-19 vaccination strategy according to emerging evidence from science and field experience.
India is also reporting wastage of covid-19 vaccines, which may prove a trigger for the government to include more age groups in its programme. While India has already provided 75.4 million doses of covid-19 vaccines to states and union territories so far, the country has also reported 6.5% vaccines wastage. Telengana, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Jammu & Kashmir have reported a wastage of vaccines which is more than that of the national average.
Vaccine is a public health commodity. Vaccine wastage has to be drastically reduced. Any reduction in wastage means inoculating more people,” said Rajesh Bhushan, Union health secretary.
The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on 16 January with vaccination of healthcare workers (HCWs), while vaccination of frontline workers (FLWs) started 2 February. The next phase of covid-19 vaccination commenced from 1 March for those above 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions.
Over 3.5 crore citizens have been vaccinated till date, out of which 1.38 crore first doses have been given to those aged 60 years and above and those aged above 45 years having co-morbidities.
Since roll out of the covid-19 vaccination, vaccine uptake has been low in India among all age groups ranging from healthcare workers, frontline workers, senior citizens and people with co-morbidities. States such as Telangana and Punjab have also been raising the issue of covering more people with vaccines. We can consider including other age groups for vaccination after few more discussions,” said a senior official in union health ministry.
As per the health ministry data, Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu are reporting a high number of daily new cases. They collectively account for 71.10% of the 28,903 new cases reported in the last 24 hours which is highest in last four weeks.
Click here to read the Mint ePaperMint is now on Telegram. Join Mint channel in your Telegram and stay updated with the latest business news.