Covid-19 vaccination for citizens above 45 years of age will begin nationwide on Thursday. The move comes as the country is witnessing an alarming rise in Covid-19 cases and a spike in deaths.
According to reports, the government had to reduce the priority age for vaccination to 45 years after the Centre found that nearly 88% of patients succumbing to Covid-19 were 45 years and above. Around 20 crore people fall in the age category of 45 years to 59 years in India. The government is hopeful that vaccinating those above 45 years could reduce the rise in cases and Covid-19 related casualties.
Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja, who is currently campaigning for the state elections, said that the Covid-19 vaccination would benefit the state in the next two months. Shailaja told a news channel that campaigning for the Kerala Assembly elections cannot be stopped due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “Despite huge crowds, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) is campaigning following Covid-19 norms and had instructed all attending the rallies and meetings to wear masks,” she said. On Tuesday, the state reported 2,389 new Covid-19 cases, 1,946 recoveries and 16 deaths. The state collected 58,557 samples and the Test Positivity Rate is at 4.08%.
Meanwhile, the Centre has informed that the Covid-19 situation in India is turning from “bad to worse”. National Expert Committee on Vaccine Administration chairman VK Paul said that Coronavirus is still active. “Trends show the virus is still very active. Just when we think we can control it, it sparks back,” Paul said. He, however, dismissed that the mutated strains of the virus are not behind the recent surge in cases across India.
“We have taken pride that fatality has been low in the country. But the death rate has now jumped four times. From 73 to 271. The virus needs to be eliminated,” Paul said, adding that without contact tracing, quarantining, isolation, among others, the virus cannot be contained.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has written to all the states and Union Territories, asking them to ensure that those above the age of 45 years of age in surge districts should get vaccinated within the next two weeks. In the letter, he said that all districts with a high caseload and fast growth of cases should ensure 100% saturation vaccination of the priority age group of 45 years and above in the coming two weeks. “Any complacency at this stage, at any level, will have heavy costs,” he wrote.
On Wednesday, the Union Health Ministry informed that India reported 53,480 new Covid-19 cases, 41,280 recoveries and 354 deaths in the last 24 hours. Maharashtra continues to contribute with the highest number of cases among all states with 27,918 new cases.