NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved the launch of Covid- 19 vaccination for the third priority group from March 1, which includes people above 60 years and those above 45 years with comorbidities, and involves the private sector.
The vaccines will be administered at 10,000 government facilities free of cost and at 20,000 paid private facilities.
The cost of the vaccines at private hospitals will be decided in three-four days after a meeting with manufacturers and representatives of hospitals, said Union minister Prakash Javadekar.
“From March 1, people above 60 years of age and those above 45 years of age with comorbidities will be vaccinated at 10,000 government and over 20,000 private vaccination centres. The vaccine will be given free of cost at government centres,” said Javadekar in a press briefing on the Cabinet’s decisions.
The government is yet to make public the clinical criteria for those with underlying conditions to qualify for vaccinations against coronavirus but sources in the Union health ministry told this newspaper that these include diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases.
The underlying conditions have been defined by a special panel of doctors appointed by the government and are likely to be released within the next few days.
Officials also said that portability facilities will be offered for the vaccination, which means that the beneficiaries can get the jabs anywhere in India after registering on CoWin app and furnishing required documents at the time of vaccine administration.
“At the time of registration on CoWin, beneficiaries will be allotted a slot and will have a bunch of hospitals to choose from. For this purpose, the app is being updated,” said a senior ministry official. He added that the CoWin portal is being integrated with the Aarogya Setu app for ease of registration for beneficiaries.
There are two approved Covid-19 vaccines in India, one each by the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech. However, the government is yet to clarify whether the third priority group can choose its jab brand.
Who will get the vaccine?
People above 60 years and those over 45 with comorbidities.
What are the comorbidties recognised for prioritisation?
Diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases, but final word is yet to be out.
What is the process of taking the vaccine?
You first need to register on CoWin App. It will ask you for your choice of hospital. You then need to select an available day/time slot. If you miss an assigned slot, you can register again.
What papers are needed before taking the shot?
At the site of vaccine administration, you need to submit proof of age through a valid government ID. For those in the comorbid group, proof of comorbidity is required.
What will be the cost of vaccines?
It is free at govt hospitals. At private hospitals, you need to pay the price fixed by manufacturers and overhead cost charged by the hospital for administering the shot. There will be more clarity soon.