Centre preps states for subsequent part of Covid vaccination: Key issues to know

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As the nationwide Covid-19 vaccination drive enters the next phase on March 1, Central government on Friday held a high-level meeting with state officials to ensure a smooth vaccination for general public.

The empowered group on vaccine administration, led by union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan and Dr R S Sharma and the national expert group on vaccine administration chaired a high-level meeting to discuss the next phase of vaccination of age-appropriate groups through a video conference.

Here are key things to know about the meeting

1) The nationwide vaccination drive will be expanded to all citizens above 60 years of age, and those within the age bracket of 45 to 59 years with specified co-morbidities from March 1, 2021. The private sector hospitals will also be involved as vaccination centres to harness their potential to expand the vaccination capacities.

2) With a citizen –centric approach, the fundamental shift in this phase is that citizens in the identified age groups, as also those healthcare workers and frontline who have been missed out or left out of the present phase of vaccination, can select vaccination centres of their choice, according the union health ministry.

3) All beneficiaries, regardless of the mode of access, must be advised to carry any one of the following photo ID documents: Aadhar Card, Electoral Photo, Identity Card (EPIC), the Photo ID card specified at the time of registration in case of online registration (if not Aadhar or EPIC), certificate of co-morbidity for citizens in age group of 45 years to 59 years (signed by a registered medical practitioner)

4) Vaccination will be free of charge at the government centres. The beneficiary will have to show a photo ID document for proof of age (preferably Aadhar card or EPIC card) and certificate of co-morbidity (if required). Those taking the Covid vaccine at any designated/empanelled private health facility will have to pay a pre-fixed charge.

5) States and UTs were asked to ensure that the private health facilities mandatorily must have the following for using them as Covid Vaccination Centres: They must have adequate space for the vaccination process and must have basic cold chain equipments for storing the vaccine vials. They must also have their own team of vaccinators and staff;

6) The process of registration for beneficiaries can be done through three routes:

Advance Self-Registration:

The beneficiaries will be able to self register in advance by downloading the CO-Win 2.0 portal and through other IT Applications such as Arogya Setu etc. This will show the Government and private hospitals serving as COVID Vaccination Centres (CVCs) with date and time of the available schedules. The beneficiary would be able to choose the CVC of his/her choice and book an appointment for vaccination.

On-site Registration:

Facility of On-Site registration allows those who cannot self register in advance to walk into the identified COVID Vaccination Centres and get themselves registered on-site and then vaccinated.

Facilitated Cohort Registration:

Under this mechanism, the state governments will decide specific dates for Covid vaccination where target groups of potential beneficiates will be vaccinated. The state health authorities will ensure that that the target groups are actively mobilised and brought to the vaccination centres. ASHAs, ANMs, Panchayati Raj representatives and Women’s Self Help Groups (SHGs) will be utilized for mobilizing the target groups.

7) Under all the above three routes, all beneficiaries would be captured on Co-win 2.0 platform and would be issued digital QR Code based provisional (on receiving the first does) and final (on receiving second dose) certificates. These can be downloaded from the link shown in the SMS the beneficiary shall receive after the vaccination. Print out of these certificates can also be taken from the Vaccination Centres.

8) States and UTs have been asked to keep a vaccination scale-up plan ready which will include the granular weekly and fortnightly plans for scaling up the vaccination sites both within the government and private facilities and also the number of vaccine doses administered.

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