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Walk-in registration, vaccination for 18+ allowed at govt facilities: Centre

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At a time when there is an acute shortage of vaccines with many states discontinuing the vaccination drive for the 18-44 age group, the Union government on Monday allowed the walk-in registration and vaccination of people below 45 who do not have access to a smartphone and internet.

The government said it is being done to minimise wastage and will apply to only government-run vaccination centres. The Centre has also clarified the states will be free to decide whether to implement on-site registration and vaccination of people below 45 years or not.

The health ministry, in a statement, said, “In case of sessions exclusively organized with online slots, towards the end of the day, some doses may still be left unutilised in case the online appointee beneficiaries do not turn up on the day of vaccination due to any reason. In such cases, on-site registration of a few beneficiaries may be necessary to minimise the vaccine wastage.”

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So far, people below 45 years and interested to take the vaccine had to register them through the government’s CoWIN portal or Arogya Setu app—a herculean task owing to the huge demand for vaccines and limited availability. Earlier, the Centre had also allowed the on-site registration and vaccination of people above the age of 45 years.

Global tenders floated by state governments

Several states including Punjab, Rajasthan, Delhi, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Telangana have floated tenders for procurement of vaccines. However, companies such as Moderna and Pfizer have made it clear to Punjab and Delhi that they will not deal with states and their policy is to deal with the government of India.

With Serum Institute of India that manufactures ‘Covishield’ and Bharat Biotech that manufactures ‘Covaxin’ unable to meet the domestic demand, states are left with no option but to import vaccines by floating global tenders. So far, the Indian government has allowed three vaccines for COVID-19 in the country—Covishield, Covaxin and Russia’s Sputnik V.

 

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