Starting next week, COVID-19 vaccination to cover frontline workers too

By Express News Service
NEW DELHI: The Centre on Friday asked states to start vaccination of frontline workers against COVID-19 beginning next week adding that their immunisation will run parallelly to the ongoing exercise covering healthcare workers.  

Together, healthcare and frontline workers comprise nearly 3 crore individuals in India and so far about over 33 lakh healthcare workers have taken first jabs against the infectious disease.

In the letter issued to states on Friday, Manohar Agnani, additional secretary in the Union ministry of health and family welfare said the database of frontline workers is being updated by States and UTs in collaboration with the respective line ministries.

“As on date, the database of more than 61 lakh frontline workers has been uploaded on Co-WIN portal,” said his letter addressed to state health secretaries.

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In this regard, after due consultation with states and UTs, it is advised that the states will initiate simultaneous vaccination of frontline workers and healthcare workers from the first week of February, wrote Agnani.

The letter also said that the required doses of both vaccines — Covishield and Covaxin — have been allocated to states and further augmentation will be made through subsequent releases.

States have also been directed to 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,” the letter said. “Your unstinted support is a prerequisite to achieve the desired acceleration and impact of COVID-19 vaccine drive.”

Frontline workers are the second prioritised group identified by the government for the targeted vaccination drive that also plans to cover all individuals above 50 years of age and those with serious underlying diseases that makes them vulnerable to severe form of the infectious disease.

Together, the prioritised groups are estimated to number around 30 crore in the country and the government plans to complete the drive over the next 6-7 months.