Ahead of third phase of COVID-19 vaccination, Union Health Secretary writes to states for facilitating systematic implementation

Besides the rising COVID-19 cases, India on other hand shall be kicking off with third phase of the vaccination drive on May 1. Also from May 1 onwards, all above age of 21 shall be allowed to get inoculated against covid infection. In order to run the vaccination systematically Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has written to Additional Chief Secretaries/Principal Secretaries, Health of all states/UTs.

The Health Ministry has directed the Secretaries/Principal Secretaries, Health of all states/UTs to gear up for the enhancement of the vaccination drive ahead of the inclusion of beneficiaries aged between with 18 to 44 years. Here's a look at the directives issued by the ministry for facilitating systematic implementation of the vaccination drive.

Registration of COVID Vaccination Centers (CVCs):

1. It will continue to be mandatory for all government and private COVID vaccination Centers (CVCS) to register on the CoWIN system, regardless of the source of vaccine doses it shall also be mandatory for all CVCs to record all vaccinations, issue digital vaccination certificates and to report all AEFIs on the CoWIN system.

2. The eligibility conditions for any health facility for registration as a CVC also remain unchanged for any private health facility to be operated as a CVC, the facility must have the following facilities

  • Sufficient Cold Chain equipment and capacity.

  • Sufficient rooms/space for waiting area, vaccination and observation post

  • Sufficient number of trained vaccinators and verifiers

  • Ability to manage the Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI)

2. Procurement of vaccine doses and declaration of stocks and prices

1. The private hospitals and industrial establishments (through their hospitals), willing to provide vaccination services, may procure vaccine doses from the manufacturers through their hospitals, exclusively from the 50% supply earmarked for other than Govt. of India channel.

2. Each private CVC, including the already registered CVCS, must declare on COWIN the vaccine type(s), the stocks of vaccines and the prices decided by the CVC to be charged to the citizons, for vaccination services being offered 1st May 2021 onwards. Appropriate changes are being done in the facility registration module of COWIN to include these informations.

3. The vaccine types and theirs prices will be displayed in the "Appointments module on COWIN so that the citizens can make an informed choice at the time of booking a vaccination appointment.

4. The private CVCS will be able to populate their schedule for offering appointment slots for citizens only after the requisite information as mentioned in para 2.2 has been declared on COWIN.

5. All vaccination slots at private CVCs will continue to be offered only for online appointment from COWIN or Arogya Setu. On-site registration/appointments will be allowed only, d any doses are left in the last opened vial(s) so as to minimize vaccine wastages.

In order to follow the above decisions, the States/UTs have been advised to take the following actions immediately

1. Registration of the new CVCS may be taken up in campaign mode. Meetings may be held with private hospitals and their representative organizations in which they may be fully informed about the Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy and above provisions, as well as how these provisions will be implemented.

2. Registration of willing hospitals meeting the eligibility criteria may be done on CoWIN on an expeditious basis Subsequent of registration, user credentials for COWIN may be provided to the newly registered private CVCs without any delay Trainings may also be provided to the staff proposed to be used as vaccinators, arrangements at such CVCS. norms for social distancing COVID Appropriate Behaviour and for AEFI management protocols as per the Guidelines of the Ministry.

3. The new version of CoWIN software is being prepared for implementation of the revised protocols. In the meanwhile, trainings for the CVC site managers and verifiers and vaccinators may be planned for use of CoWIN. Such training schedule may be shared by States/UTs at scovid 19vaccine.mohfw@gmail.com>

4. Adequate publicity in all forms of media may be ensured to create awareness among

citizens that the vaccination services to citizens in the age group of 18 to 44 years is

initially being offered only through online self-registration and appointments through

COWIN (cowin.gov.in) and Arogya Setu and that there would be no facility for on-site (walk-in) registration for such beneficiaries initially

5. The system of supplying vaccine stocks to private CVCs and collection of Rs. 150 per dose, will cease to exist from 1 May 2021. State/UT Government would therefore need to do a complete stock taking of the funds deposited by the Private CVCs, the vaccine doses supplied to them, the vaccine doses utilized so far and the doses likely to be utilized till 30th April 2021. Any unutilized vaccine stocks, balance as on April 30th 2021, will have to be returned to the Cold Chain Point from where the stocks were issued. The

State/UT Governments must make a careful assessment of the potential for full utilization

of such vaccine doses up to 30th April 2021, before issuing any further stocks to the private CVCS.

6. All States/UTs must closely coordinate with law & order authorities for the first week beginning from 1 May 2021 in respect of crowd management at private CVCS.

3. Eligibility of beneficiaries

1. As provided in the Strategy Document, all priority groups, such as the Health Care Workers, the Front-Line Workers and citizens above aged 45 years or more (as on 01.01.2022), shall continue to be eligible for vaccination:

a. Free of cost from the Government CVCS: or

b On payment from the private CVCS.

2. The State/UT Goverments, In the event of procurement of vaccine doses directly from the manufacturers, may decide to expand the coverage from the doses so procured to reduce the cut off age for eligibility for vaccination at the Government CVCS The CoWIN system shall provide the feature to States/UTs for setting the minimum age out off value for a State/UT. In such cases the Government CVCS will be visible to eligible beneficiaries for booking an online appointment based on validation on the minimum cut off age defined by the respective State/UT Government.

3. Citizens in the age group of 18 years to 44 years shall be eligible to receive vaccination, on payment, from any of the private CVCS Citizens below the age of 45 years shall also be eligible to receive vaccination from a Government CVC in a State/UT where that State/UT decides to lower the minimum cut off age for eligibility of beneficiaries to less than 45 years for covering such additional eligible beneficiaries from the vaccine stocks directly procured by the respective State/UT Government from vaccine manufacturers

4. Registration and appointment of expanded cohort (18-44 years of age as on 01.01.2022)

  • Registration of citizens in 18-44 age group will start with only online registration on COWIN from 28 04 2021 ( Wednesday) onwards.

  • The online appointment facility will also be offered from 28.04.2021 (Wednesday) for such ctizens for booking appointments for sessions and slots available on COWIN for vaccination from 01 05 2021 (Saturday) onwards.

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