More than 9 lakh ‘precautionary’ Covid doses given on first day: Health Ministry

More than 9 lakh healthcare and frontline workers, and 60-plus citizens with comorbidities received their third Covid jab on Monday, the Union Health Ministry said, as the country began administering a “precautionary” dose against the infection.

The cumulative Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the country crossed 152.78 crore (1,52,78,35,951) with over 82 lakh (82,76,158) doses being administered on Monday (till 7 pm).

Braving snow, plummeting winter temperatures, and rain in some places, many people could be seen waiting their turn outside vaccination centres.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “India began administering Precaution Doses. Kudos to those who have got vaccinated today. I would request all those who are eligible to get vaccinated. As we all know, vaccination remains among the most effective means to fight COVID-19.”

An estimated 1.05 crore healthcare and 1.9 crore frontline workers, and 2.75 crore co-morbid people in the 60-plus category is the estimated targeted population, Health Ministry sources said, as the ramped-up vaccination drive to increase the Covid protection umbrella kicked off, around a fortnight after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the announcement on December 25.

Covid-19 Senior citizens get vaccinated in Ward 5 Market Char Rasta in Vadodara on Monday. (Express photo by Bhupendra Rana)

The vulnerable population, also including personnel deployed for election duty, will get a “precautionary jab” of the same vaccine they took 39 weeks ago, the government has said. Slots are booked using existing CoWin accounts.

Covid-19 The drive to administer Covid-19 precaution dose for healthcare workers, frontline workers and persons aged above 60 with comorbidities kickstarted on Monday.(Express photo by Nirmal Harindran)

According to the health ministry data, 4,91,013 precaution doses have been administered to healthcare workers, 1,90,383 to frontline workers and 2,54,868 to the 60-plus population with comorbidities on Monday.

The daily vaccination tally is expected to increase with the compilation of the final reports for the day by late night.

Meanwhile, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Monday called on states and Union territories to ensure there is no lapse in the preparation to battle Covid surge and stressed on maintaining a holistic synergy for seamless management of the pandemic.

Reiterating that the Centre is dedicated to supporting states in containing Covid, he said the Union government has provided support under ECRP-II for strengthening the health infrastructure across the country.

Covid-19 There would be no mix-and-match of vaccines for the precaution dose. The beneficiaries would be given the same vaccine as their previous two jabs. (Express photo by Arul Horizon)

Interacting with health ministers, top officials and information commissioners of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Goa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Mandaviya said, “Let there be no lapse in our preparedness as we battle this surge of the pandemic.”

During the virtual interaction, he reviewed the public health preparedness of these states for containing and managing Covid-19 as well as the progress of the vaccination campaign. He emphasised administering ‘precaution dose’ for the identified categories and urged the states to ensure full coverage of the vulnerable population. He also requested them to expedite full coverage of the eligible age group of 15-18 years at the earliest. Mandaviya said that irrespective of the Covid variants, ‘test-track-treat-vaccinate’ and adherence to ‘Covid appropriate behaviour’ continue to form the pivotal foundation for Covid management.

Covid-19 The countrywide COVID-19 vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 last year with healthcare workers getting inoculated in the first phase. The vaccination of frontline workers started from February 2. (Express photo by Bhupendra Rana)

India on Monday recorded 1,79,723 fresh Covid-19 cases, pushing the active caseload to 7,23,619. The daily positivity rate stood at 13.29 per cent, while 146 deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours.

Meanwhile, the Centre on Monday said that only 5 to 10 per cent of the active Covid cases have so far needed hospitalisation during the third wave in the country. Adding a note of caution, however, it warned that the situation right now is dynamic and may change rapidly.

During the second wave in the country, the percentage of active cases that needed hospital care were in the range of 20-23 per cent, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said in a letter to states and Union territories.

(With PTI inputs)

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