A nurse prepares to administer a shot of the Covishield COVID-19 vaccine.(AP)
A nurse prepares to administer a shot of the Covishield COVID-19 vaccine.(AP)

Covid-19 vaccination for veterans to begin at service hospitals next week: Army

  • There are more than 3.2 million ex-servicemen (ESM) in the country, and many of them have been waiting to get vaccinated at service hospitals.
UPDATED ON MAR 06, 2021 10:46 PM IST

Veterans and their dependents eligible for Covid-19 vaccination under the government’s guidelines will be able to get vaccinated at service hospitals starting next week, the Indian Army said on Saturday.

“Approval of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for vaccination of veterans (includes their dependents) and dependents of Armed Forces personnel in Service hospitals has been received,” the army said on Twitter.

There are more than 3.2 million ex-servicemen (ESM) in the country, and many of them have been waiting to get vaccinated at service hospitals. Their dependents include spouses, sons (till the age of 25 or when they start earning, whichever is earlier), unmarried/divorced daughters, parents with a monthly income of less than 9,000 and special children for life.

The number of dependents is around 2.3 million but only those who meet the eligibility criteria will be able to get the shots at service hospitals, said people familiar with ESM issues. The same applies to dependents of serving military personnel.

Also read: Maharashtra reports over 10,000 Covid-19 cases for second consecutive day

Citizens above 60 years of age and those above 45 suffering from comorbidities are being covered during the current phase of vaccination.

The vaccination drive for eligible veterans will kick off at service hospitals next week.

“The process is likely to commence next week after the completion of registration of Armed Forces medical facilities on Co-WIN platform. Guidelines for the same will be issued in a few days,” the army said in another tweet.

Some veterans - aged over 60 or 45 with comorbidities - have already got themselves vaccinated at government-approved centres after the drive for the general public began on March 1.

Roughly 20,000 centres that are currently being used for the vaccine drive are hospitals, private as well as public, while many primary and secondary health centres at present are kept out of the programme.

The government is planning to more than double the number of vaccination centres and reach deeper into rural parts of the country, as reported by Hindustan Times on Saturday.

Government data shows 1.4 million doses were administered on Thursday, a record for the country, but a breakdown shows only about half of this number (700,000) was of people from the general public who became eligible to get doses on March 1. The remaining were health and frontline workers, who were the first in line to get doses when the drive began on January 16, and 330,000 were second booster shots.

The makers of the two vaccines that India is using, the Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech, told the Delhi High Court on Thursday that they have excess stocks but supplies can be made available only upon the government’s permission.

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