COVID-19 vaccination in India: How will the next phase of immunization drive be carried out?

By: |
February 26, 2021 12:04 PM

RS Sharma said that the beneficiaries would now be able to self-register to get vaccinated, and this process would begin from March 1.

The trial data, if they show that vaccine-candidates studied are well-tolerated in the target group and immunogenic, could help countries revisit vaccine strategies to expand cover to key groups

Coronavirus vaccination: Come March 1 and India will begin work on the vaccination of a whopping 26 crore people, significantly more than the total of 1.34 crore vaccine doses administered by the country so far. This group would include people aged above 60 years and those above 45 years and suffering from a comorbidity. Considering the change in scale, several changes would also need to be made to the current method of carrying out the vaccination drive, and the committee directing the vaccination exercise has worked out many new measures that would be put in place, a report in IE has said, citing committee chairperson RS Sharma.

Self-registration and walk-ins

Repeating what AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria had said earlier, RS Sharma said that the beneficiaries would now be able to self-register to get vaccinated, and this process would begin from March 1. Calling it a citizen-centric model, Sharma said that citizens would also be able to walk in and get vaccinated at session sites where such a facility is offered, and even be able to pick the time and the place for getting the vaccine dose administered, making use of the online booking process.

The beneficiaries would be able to book with the help of the Aarogya Setu app, the website of the CoWIN app as well as the common service centre called IVRS. Other than that, a helpline number would also help in self-registration.

Beneficiaries aged above 60 years would be able to register for the vaccination, no questions asked. On the other hand, people under the age of 45 would not be eligible to register themselves in any scenario during this phase of the vaccination. As for the people aged between 45 and 60 years, they would be asked if they were suffering from any comorbidities, and only if they were, would they be able to register. These beneficiaries would also need to carry a prescription for the same on the day of the vaccination, because a picture of this prescription would be uploaded to the system.

Moreover, the beneficiaries would also get the option to get vaccinated either at a government facility or any private facility which is empanelled under CGHS and PMJAY.

Centres for walk-in vaccination

The report quoted Sharma as saying that the decision regarding the walk-in system has been left to the states, who would have the power to decide if they want to have a system of walk-in vaccination, and if so, the proportion of sites that would take walk-ins vis-a-vis those that would work on appointments. The walk-in vaccination sites would also be decided upon by the states.

Documents for identification

Beneficiaries are required to produce photo IDs at the vaccination site, and the accepted documents include driving license, voter ID and Aadhaar card, among others. Moreover, a person only needs a smartphone to register for the vaccination, but having a smartphone is not the basis of any future communication regarding the drive, since the messages related to it would be sent by the means of SMS.

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