From April 1, all people above 45 years of age are entitled to get COVID-19 vaccine, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said on Tuesday.
Briefing reporters on the decisions taken by the Union cabinet, he said even people without comorbidity and above the age of 45 years, can get vaccinated. He requested people entitled to get themselves registered to take the COVID-19 shot.
The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 with healthcare workers getting inoculated and vaccination of the workers started from February 2.
The next phase of COVID-19 vaccination commenced on March 1 for those who are over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions.
This comes against the backdrop of Maharashtra, Punjab and Gujarat reporting an upsurge in COVID-19 cases. Maharashtra accounts for over 60 per cent of the daily cases.
The total number of coronavirus cases of the UK, South Africa and Brazil variants in India stand at 795 till date, the Union health ministry said on Tuesday.
On March 18, the country had recorded a total of 400 cases with these variants and 242 on March 4. The data shows that the cases have doubled in merely five days.
Earlier on Tuesday, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said that 81 per cent of the 401 samples sent by the state for genome sequencing tested positive for the UK COVID variant.
Expressing concern over the surging cases, he stressed the need for the Central government to urgently open up the vaccination for a bigger section of the populace.
A genomic consortium of 10 regional laboratories with the National Centre for Disease Control as the apex lab has been established to perform genomic sequencing of samples from positive travellers and 5 per cent of positive test samples from the community.