Seeking to exponentially expand the countrywide anti-coronavirus inoculation drive, the Centre has decided to keep all public and private sector COVID-19 Vaccination Centres (CVCs) operational throughout April, including on gazetted holidays.
The Centre wrote to all states and union territories on Thursday and asked them to make necessary arrangements for this, the Union Health Ministry said.
"This step has been taken after detailed deliberations with the states and UTs on March 31 to optimally utilise all COVID-19 Vaccination Centres across the public and private sectors to ensure rapid increase in the pace and coverage of COVID vaccination.
"This decision is in line with the graded and pro-active approach employed by the government of India along with the states and UTs for COVID-19 vaccination," the ministry said.
The vaccination exercise continues to be regularly reviewed and monitored at the highest level, it highlighted.
The government opened up the COVID-19 vaccination drive to include everybody above 45 years of age on April 1 based on a recommendation of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration (NEGVAC).
A countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 with healthcare workers (HCWs) getting inoculated first, and vaccination of frontline workers (FLWs) started from February 2.
The next phase of COVID-19 vaccination commenced on March 1 to cover people above 60 and those in the age group of 45-59 but with specified co-morbid conditions. More than 6.5 crore (6,51,17,896) vaccine doses have been administered through 10,86,241 sessions across the country so far, as per the provisional report till 7 am, according to the ministry.