India launched COVID-19 vaccination for all people aged 45 years and above from Thursday.
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 Union health ministry has written to all states and union territories on Thursday and asked them to make necessary arrangements for this to optimally utilise all vaccination centres across the public and private sectors to ensure rapid increase in the pace and coverage of COVID inoculation.
"This decision is in line with the graded and pro-active approach employed by the government of India along with the states and union territories for COVID-19 vaccination," the health ministry said.
More than 6.5 crore vaccine doses have been administered across the country so far to frontline workers, healthcare workers, those above 60 and for people aged above 45 with specified co-co-morbid conditions.
The next phase of COVID-19 vaccination commenced from March 1 for those over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions.
The ministry said so far vaccine doses have been administered to 82,60,293 HCWs (first dose), 52,50,704 HCWs (second dose), 91,74,171 FLWs (first dose) and 39,45,796 FLWs (second dose). Besides, 3,05,12,070 and 1,20,346 beneficiaries more than 60 years old have been administered the first and second dose respectively, while 78,36,667 and 17,849 individuals aged 45 to 69 with specific co-morbidities have taken the first and second dose respectively so far, according to the ministry.