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Central Govt Gears up for Phase 3 of COVID Vaccinations on March 1; Seniors Above 60 Now Eligible for On-Site Registration


Central Govt Gears up for Phase 3 of COVID Vaccinations on March 1; Seniors Above 60 Now Eligible for On-Site Registration
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With India commencing the third phase of COVID-19 vaccinations starting March 1, the Union Health Ministry gave out some information regarding on-site registrations for beneficiaries. 

A statement put out by the Health Ministry on Friday said that on-site registration facilities will be set up for those eligible for the vaccines so that they can simply walk into a vaccination centre, register themselves, and receive the vaccine shot. 

Those eligible to receive the vaccine in the third phase can also get themselves registered in advance using the Co-WIN 2.0 portal set up by the government and via other services operated by the Centre including Aarogya Setu. 

The Aarogya Setu app can list out the government and private hospitals that are functioning as COVID-19 vaccination centres or CVCs while also providing the operating schedule including the time and dates. The Health Ministry said that beneficiaries will be able to pick the vaccination centre suitable for them and get an appointment. 

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As for the cost, the ministry said that vaccinations will be conducted free of cost at government vaccination centres. However, those choosing to take the vaccine shot from a government empanelled or designated private health centre will be required to pay a pre-fixed charge.  

The Central Government has passed along these details to the Health Secretaries and Mission Directors of National Health Mission sites across states and union territories. This meeting was chaired by Union Health Secretary, Rajesh Bhushan who was accompanied by Dr RS Sharma, Chairperson of the Empowered Group on Vaccine Administration (Co-WIN) and member of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration of COVID-19 (NEGVAC).   

COVID-19 vaccinations across India began on January 16 with priority to healthcare workers and other frontline staff. However, the third phase of vaccinations starting March 1 will be expansive in its scope as it will cover all citizens above the age of 60 and people between the ages of 45 to 59 carrying specified co-morbidities. 

The Co-WIN app has been non-functional on Saturday and Sunday as it was undergoing an upgrade to prepare for the fresh phase of vaccinations starting Monday. States and Union Territories were given ample explanations on the features of the upgraded 2.0 version of the app. 

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“The new phase of vaccination of age-appropriate groups will expand the COVID-19 vaccination in the country manifold. With a citizen-centric approach, the fundamental shift in this phase is that citizens in the identified age groups, as also those healthcare and frontline workers who have been missed out or left out of the present phase of vaccination, can select vaccination centres of their choice,” the Health Ministry said.

In addition, governments have been advised to utilize private hospitals as vaccination centres so as to cover more people during the vaccination drive. However, the advisory pointed out that COVID vaccination centres must be affiliated with the government in some form including ones that offer under Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS), Ayushman Bharat - Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) and other State-based health insurance programs. 

People eligible for vaccinations should carry either of the following Photo ID/documents while arriving for their vaccinations: Aadhaar Card, Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC), Photo ID card as specified during registration, or a certificate signed by a medical practitioner diagnosing the co-morbidity for people aged 45-59. 

Other forms of verifiable documentation include an employment certificate or official Identity Card with a photo and date of birth for HCWs and FLWs. The ministry detailed the simplified registration process for States and UTs in the form of Advance Self-Registration, On-site Registration, and Facilitated Cohort Registration.

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