THD NewsDesk, New Delhi: The government has said that to speed up the vaccination drive so that more and more people become eligible for the life-saving jabs, hospitals can extend or advance the vaccination schedule any day, thereby not necessarily sticking to a fixed schedule to vaccinate people against COVID-19.
The government has removed time constraint, letting people 24×7 access of vaccine jab, as per their convenience, in the hospitals. This will help to increase the speed of vaccination. Health Minister Harsh Vardhan tweeted in Hindi “Prime Minister Narendra Modi understands the value of both time and health of citizens”.
Meanwhile, the Health Minister also replied “private hospitals can choose any time window to vaccinate people” to a report by the newspaper Dainik Bhaskar which highlighted private hospitals asking for releasing their vaccination schedule.
However, the flexible schedule allowed by the government is applicable to both (government and private) says the Health Minister. Since all hospitals – both private and government ones – involved in the inoculation drive are linked by the government’s CoWIN app and website, therefore, similar flexible slots, as decided, will be of great help, to preserve people’s time as well as health.
On Tuesday, the Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said “Hospitals can vaccinate for as long as they want. Although, the CoWIN portal has removed the 9 am to 5 pm vaccination system, but, an end time of till 8 pm on daily basis has been decided as of now. They can start as early as 8 am if they want. However, coordination from the state government for schedule is equally important depending upon the hospital’s capacity”
Meanwhile, the flexible time schedule will lessen social gathering and avoid crowding at vaccination sites.
On approval from the Centre, states and Union Territories decided private hospitals with certain facilities, to be made vaccination sites. Upon making private hospitals vaccination sites for the second phase of the inoculation drive in which the coverage has been expanded to include those above 60 and those over 45 with specified illnesses, centre has asked States and Union Territories to avoid storing or creating a buffer stock of COVID-19 vaccines, apprehending future scarcity.
Mr Bhushan further said “We did not want to divide time into compartments. It can be in the morning or afternoon, depending on hospitals’ capacity. Further, states and UTs (Union Territories) in consultation with private hospitals should open vaccination slots for 15 days to a month and announce this as part of their vaccine timetable. We will make changes in the system to prevent overcrowding at vaccination sites”.
According to today’s government data, the total vaccine doses administered till date is 1.56 crore. Those above 60 years are 5.22 lakh and between 45 and 60 with comorbidities are 71,896. A total of 5.94 lakh people have been vaccinated in the last two days.