The Union Cabinet of India has approved the second phase of vaccination in the country from March 1 in which all people above 60 years of age and comorbid people above 45 years of age will be inoculated.
Those with comorbidities like diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases will be prioritized above people with other conditions in the inoculation program.
"People above 60 years of age and those above 45 years of age with comorbidities will be vaccinated at 10,000 governments and over 20,000 private vaccination centres from March 1," said Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday.
The vaccines will be given for free in government centres, while private centres will charge a price for the vaccines. Since the Union Health Ministry is engaged in ongoing talks with vaccine manufacturers and private hospitals to decide the charge for vaccination to all civilians, the rate is yet to be determined.
The vaccines Covishield developed by AstraZeneca, Oxford University and manufactured by the Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin are the two vaccines approved in India for emergency use.
The states and UTs have been advised to increase their vaccination pace in the upcoming days so that the public health facilities are prepared to begin the second phase of vaccination.
The nationwide vaccination drive began on January 16 for healthcare and frontline workers battling the virus. The second phase expects to cover about 27 crore people.