Updated: February 6, 2021 7:19:54 am
India will begin vaccinating its third priority group of those who are 50 years and above — a group estimated to be more than 27 crore — in March, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said in Lok Sabha on Friday.
The vaccination programme began on January 16.
“In the first phase, the target was to vaccinate around one crore health workers of government and private clinics, which is happening swiftly. The second phase, meant to inoculate two crore frontline workers, has already begun in many states from February 2. After completing the two phases, the third phase is expected to begin in any time in March. In this phase, every citizen above the age of 50 will get vaccinated. The process will begin in any week of March,” the minister said.
“It’s difficult to give an exact date, but it will begin in any time of the month — third or fourth week of March,” he said.
Harsh Vardhan said five million people in the country have already been vaccinated.
During a brief Question Hour, that had to be curtailed after 15 minutes due to the opposition protests over the farmers’ agitation, Harsh Vardhan said that till now, 22 countries have placed their demands for Covid-19 vaccines before India. The countries include Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, UAE, Maldives, Morocco, Bahrain, Oman, Egypt, Algeria, Kuwait and South Africa, among others.
The health minister said India has already supplied vaccines to 15 nations — 56 lakh doses have been sent through grants and 105 lakh doses through contract.
Harsh Vardhan could take up only two supplementary questions as due to disruptions in the House. Several rounds of discussion between the government and the Opposition could not break the logjam in Lok Sabha. While the government maintained that it was ready for debates on all issues, the Opposition insisted that a different slot should be allotted for discussing the farmers’ issue.
The House witnessed two abrupt adjournments as Opposition MPs trooped to the Well, raising slogans and holding placards which demanded the repeal of “black laws”. As soon as the House convened at 4 pm, Members from the Congress, Left parties and the DMK rushed to the Well.
Speaker Birla took up the Question Hour and told the Members that questions on the Covid-19 vaccine were coming up, so Members should return to their seats.
Although the Speaker repeatedly asked the MPs to go back to their seats, they continued their slogan raising and he adjourned the proceedings till 6 pm.
The House met again at 6 pm but MPs came to centre of the House. The House was adjourned after tabling the papers.
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