Govt allows 24x7 vaccination as surge continues in six states
Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said on Wednesday the government has allowed coronavirus vaccinations to work 24x7 for the convenience of beneficiaries, a step he said was meant to ease the process for people.
Hospitals welcomed the move, saying segregated timings would mean less crowding.
“People can get vaccinated 24x7 as per their convenience as Prime Minister Narendra Modi understands the value of both time and health of citizens,” the minister tweeted in Hindi.
“Most hospitals anyway work 24x7, like ours, so they can also offer vaccine shots. It makes sense to leave the slots open ended especially for working professionals who do not have any fixed timings and prefer early mornings or late nights,” said Dr Anupam Sibal, group medical director, Apollo Hospitals.
The Union health ministry has been making modifications to the vaccination process since it was opened for the general public on March 1 to suit the needs of the elderly and those with comorbidities.
“We made changes to the Co-WIN application to make it more convenient for general population as they can choose the hospital, date and even time slot for vaccination. As we progress, there will be more changes made based on the feedback to make it as easy for people to take the shot as possible,” said RS Sharma, chairman, empowered group on Covid-19 vaccination.
The Union government has also allowed states to increase the number of private hospitals as Covid vaccination centres by including facilities outside of the network empanelled under Ayushman Bharat scheme, central government health insurance scheme, and other state insurance schemes.
“There are at least four states that have not signed up for the Ayushman Bharat scheme. It is better if states see their requirement and expand the list of Covid vaccination centres to include those that fulfil the criteria,” said Sharma.
At least 16 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered to people till Wednesday evening as per the government data. Government is urging eligible persons to come forward and get vaccinated as cases in some parts of the country are seeing a rise.
Six states in India currently contribute nearly 86% of the new cases of coronavirus disease (Covid-19), government data showed.
The states, Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Karnataka also continue to report a surge in the daily new cases.
On Wednesday, 14,989 new cases were registered from across the country, of which Maharashtra has reported the highest daily new cases at 7,863. Maharashtra is followed by Kerala with 2,938 cases, while Punjab reported 729 new cases.
According to the Union ministry of health and family welfare, Maharashtra, Punjab, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana and Karnataka have shown the maximum increase in new cases on a week on week basis.
“Maharashtra alone accounted for a weekly increase of 16,012 cases, in terms of the number of cases. In percentage terms, Punjab reported the weekly increase of 71.5% (1,783 cases),” said health ministry in a statement.
Central teams that have been rushed to these states, to assist local authorities in managing the situation, are trying to get to the cause, and initial observation says large gatherings and drop in overall testing could have led to the surge.
“It is a season of weddings, and people tend to gather in large numbers on such occasions and also there is somewhat laxity in observing Covid-19 appropriate behaviour. Another reason could be drop in overall testing as some of the states where there has been seen a surge, Covid-19 testing relatively went down. The teams have been directed to brief the state authorities in detail about the reasons so that the situation can be managed accordingly,” said a senior government official in the know of things, who did not wish to be identified.