India to vaccinate all over 45 from April 1

New Delhi: People who are 45 and older can be vaccinated from April 1, the government said Tuesday, ramping up the nationwide inoculation drive at a time Covid cases have surged in many states. “I appeal to every citizen who is 45 or above to register for vaccination,” Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said, announcing the cabinet decision to expand the drive that started in January.

So far, only citizens above 60 and those over 45 with other illnesses are allowed to get vaccination. A meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to vastly widen its reach to cover much more of the population. Those 45 and above can start registering for vaccination from April 1.

“This decision has been taken by cabinet on the basis of the advice of the coronavirus Task Force and experts,” said Javadekar.

He asserted that there was no shortage of vaccines and more were on the way.

According to the minister, 4.85 crore people have received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine and 80 lakh have received the second dose.

On the center’s letter to states to increase the gap between two doses of Serum Institute of India’s Covishield developed by Oxford-Astrazeneca – Javadekar said doctors would prescribe the right time for the second dose.

“The second dose has to be between four to eight weeks. Doctors will decide when it is best to take the second shot,” the Union Minister said.

Vaccinations rolled out with two vaccines – Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin — on January 16 with healthcare workers. Frontline workers were declared eligible for the shots February 2 onwards.

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