In a major development, the Centre on Wednesday announced that people above 60 years of age and those above 45 with co-morbidities will be receiving vaccine shots from March 1. Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said that the vaccines will be provided at 10,000 government and 20,000 private centres around the country. However, people will have to pay for vaccines at the private centres while they will be free of cost at government centres.
The minister said that the government was in talks with the vaccine manufacturers and hospitals and cost of the vaccine will decided in next 3-4 days. The vaccination drive is currently on in the country with healthcare and frontline workers being vaccinated in the first stage. The country has so far vaccinated around 42% of registered frontline workers with the first jab of the vaccine. On the other hand, 62% registered healthcare workers have received their second dose of the vaccine. 1.2 crore people have been vaccinated in the country till Tuesday evening in more than 2.5 lakh sessions. The vaccination of healthcare workers had begun on January 16, while for frontline workers it started on February 2.
A spurt has been witnessed in the few states of the country recently sparking fears of a second wave. The health ministry has asked the states and union territories to increase the pace of vaccination and number of tests in a bid to keep the pandemic under check.
Maharashtra and Kerala seem to be the worst-affected states in the country right now. Maharashtra reported 5,210 new infection on Tuesday, while Kerala reported 2,212 new cases, according to health ministry data.
According to the latest data released by the health ministry, the number of active cases in the country now stands at 1.46 lakh, while 1.07 crore people have recovered from the infection. 1,56,567 have died in the country due to Covid-19.