For the first time since India began its vaccination programme against Covid-19 on January 16, the general population will be eligible for the vaccine when the next phase begins on Monday — for those above 60 years of age and those above 45 with co-morbidities.
In the first phase, 1.43 crore doses of Covishield and Covaxin vaccines were administered to two priority groups: healthcare and frontline workers.
While the second phase of vaccination comes at a time when India’s active Covid cases are under control, eight states — Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Jammu & Kashmir and Madhya Pradesh — have been a cause of concern, reporting an uptick in daily cases in the last two weeks.
Ahead of the Monday rollout of phase 2 of the vaccination drive, the government on Sunday spelled out to states detailed operational guidelines on the inoculation drive.
While underlining that it will continue to procure all the vaccines to be administered at both government and private facilities, the Centre has, in its communication to states, said that it will supply Covishield and Covaxin. However, the vaccine type will not be disclosed to the beneficiary at the time of appointment.
From March 1, the slots will be open from 9 am till 3 pm, and the appointments can be booked anytime before 3 pm, subject to availability.
The Centre has also told states that one mobile number can be used to register as many as four beneficiaries.
“However, all those registered on one mobile number will have nothing in common except the mobile number. The ID Card Number for each such beneficiary must be different,” the Centre’s guidelines said.
Beneficiaries can register through Co-WIN or other IT platforms such as Aarogya Setu, and beneficiaries can edit or delete records of registration and appointment until the time of vaccination.
The Centre has further said that at the time of appointment for the first dose, the second dose will be scheduled for the 29th day. However, the beneficiary will have the option of changing the slot for the second dose between the 29th day and 42nd day of receiving the first dose. But if the beneficiary cancels the appointment for the first dose, the appointment of both doses will be cancelled.
The Centre has said that districts will have to pre-register Covid Vaccination Centres (CVC) on the Co-WIN portal before the registration is opened to citizens. For this phase, around 10,000 private hospitals under Ayushman Bharat-PMJAY and more than 600 private hospitals under the Central Government Health Scheme will be utilised as vaccination centres.
“States/UTs will decide the target number of doses to be administered in a Vaccination Cycle, based on already available vaccine doses and additional doses likely to be available in a Vaccination Cycle,” the operation guidelines state.
The guidelines state that the total vaccination slots for a vaccination cycle should not exceed the target number of doses.
The guidelines state that vaccination slots for a CVC for a day will be decided based on operational capacity. “District administrator will create a Vaccination Time Table (using COWIN 2.0) for vaccination at each CVC based on the target doses to be administered and the number of days in which the coverage is planned,” the guidelines states.
According to the guidelines, there will be two types of vaccination slots. First is the reserved slots, which is further classified into two types: ‘mobilisation slots’, for which state governments will have to mobilise beneficiaries for on-site registration and vaccination (those who may not have access to Co-WIN, the economically weaker sections etc); and slots reserved for those who have already received the first dose (healthcare and frontline workers, and those covered in the first phase of vaccination).
The second broad category is the ‘open slots’, which will be open for online appointments by general citizens. The number of open slots for a session will be worked out by subtracting the number of reserved slots from the CVC’s session capacity.
The guidelines also recommend that in the initial phase, “based on local context and plan”, one particular CVC may be either fully reserved or their full capacity could be opened for online self-appointment, “to avoid the confusion and problems in physical queue management on-site at the CVC”.
According to the official health ministry data, a total of 1,43,01,266 vaccine doses have been administered so far under the first phase of vaccination to healthcare and frontline workers: 66,69,985 healthcare workers (1st dose), 24,56,191 healthcare workers (second dose), and 51,75,090 frontline workers (first dose).
9 am to 3 pm
Beneficiaries can’t choose vaccine type at time of appointment. In case the vaccine is not of their choice, they can only opt out
Slots to be open from 9 am to 3 pm
One mobile number can be used to register as many as four beneficiaries. But they need separate IDs
Registrations through Co-WIN or Aarogya Setu