India will include people above 50 years of age in the next phase of COVID-19 public immunisation drive, reported the Hindustan Times.
According to the leading daily's report, the priority list drawn by the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC) recommended that after healthcare and frontline workers, the next in line were those above 50 years of age, and those with comorbidities.
A senior government official told the Hindustan Times that the groups were demarcated in the beginning and are now being covered gradually. Vaccinating the entire population of 1.3 billion people simultaneously is not feasible, hence, the government has had to prioritise, he added.
The official also said that government healthcare and frontline workers were placed as the top priority as this category was at maximum risk of the virus. And now extending the drive for the general population, the age group has been further sub-divided.
The report further stated that the above 50 years of age category to be vaccinated on priority has been sub-divided into those above 60 years of age and in the specified comorbidities' groups, and those between 45 and 59 years of age.
The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 with healthcare workers receiving vaccine jabs. Immunisation of frontline workers started on February 2. The next phase of COVID-19 vaccination commenced on March 1 for those who are over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with specified comorbidities.
The Union Health Ministry said the total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country crossed 2.52 crore with 9.22 lakh jabs given on Wednesday till 7 pm.
Of the 2,52,89,693 vaccine doses administered, 71,70,519 healthcare and 70,31,147 frontline workers were given the first dose, and 39,77,407 healthcare and 5,82,118 frontline workers the second dose, according to a provisional report. In addition, 9,29,359 people aged 45 and above with specific comorbidities and 55,99,143 senior citizens have been administered the first dose of vaccine.
The 7,25,930 beneficiaries who received the first dose of vaccine on Wednesday included 4,95,026 senior citizens and 95,834 individuals aged between 45 and 60 with specified comorbidities.
(With inputs from PTI)