COVID-19 vaccination drive: Health ministry asks states, UTs to vaccinate frontline workers

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The Health Ministry, on Friday, asked all states and union territories to initiate vaccination of frontline workers from the first week of February. Currently, vaccination of healthcare providers is underway. India’s vaccination drive against coronavirus began on January 16. The ministry asked the states and union territories to simultaneously vaccinate healthcare and frontline workers from February.

Health Ministry Additional Secretary Manohar Agnani informed the states and UTs that the database of frontline workers is being updated in collaboration with respective line ministries. So far, data of more than 61 lakh frontline workers have been uploaded on the Co-WIN portal.

“In this regard, after due consultation with states and UTs, it is advised that the states and UTs shall initiate simultaneous vaccination of frontline workers and healthcare workers from the first week of February,” Agnani said. A pan-India COVID-19 vaccination drive initiated on January 16 aims to cover healthcare and frontline workers in the initial phase.

The government in its letter said that the required doses of both the vaccines — Covishield and Covaxin — have been allocated to the states and UTs. More would be subsequently released as and when needed. The letter stated that states and UTs must ensure that sessions must be created for both the type of vaccines in proportion to the release of vaccines to the state, wherever applicable.

“I request you to kindly direct the concerned officials to initiate requisite planning and review for initiating vaccination of frontline workers along with healthcare workers from the first week of February, 2021. Your unstinted support is prerequisite to achieve the desired acceleration and impact of COVID-19 vaccine drive,” the letter stated.

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Meanwhile, the health ministry said that India has vaccinated 30 lakh people so far in 13 days. India’s pace of vaccination — fastest in the world — puts the country ahead of US, Israel and UK that took 18, 33 and 36 days respectively to vaccinate 30 lakh people.