The health ministry on Friday directed the states and Union territories to begin vaccinating frontline workers against the coronavirus from the first week of February, PTI reported.
Health Ministry Additional Secretary Manohar Agnani said in a letter to the states that the vaccination of health workers, which began on January 16, will continue simultaneously.
The official said that the data of 61 lakh frontline workers – policemen, municipal workers, armed forces and other groups – had been uploaded on the Co-WIN portal.
Agnani added that India had sufficient quantity of vaccines to inoculate health and frontline workers simultaneously. “Our Co-Win system has stabilised,” he said in the letter, according to The Indian Express. “Yesterday [Thursday] we conducted 5.2 lakh vaccinations in a single day. Today again we will cross the 5-lakh mark. The system has accelerated, and that speed has stabilised.”
The official asked the states to begin planning for the simultaneous vaccination. “Your unstinted support is prerequisite to achieve the desired acceleration and impact of the Covid-19 vaccination drive,” he added.
Agnani said that the states had been allotted the required doses of both Covishield and Covaxin jabs. “And further argumentation will be made through subsequent releases of vaccine doses to states and UTs,” he added, according to Hindustan Times. “The States and UTs should ensure that the sessions must be created for both the type of vaccines in proportion to the release of vaccines to the state.”
The government is aiming to inoculate around 3 crore health and frontline workers in the first phase of the vaccination drive. As of Friday evening, a total of 33,68,734 beneficiaries had been administered the vaccines.
India registered 18,855 new coronavirus cases on Friday, taking the country’s tally to 1,07,20,048. The toll rose to 1,54,010 after 163 new deaths were recorded in 24 hours. As many as 1,03,94,352 have recovered from the infection.