The government has announced that people over 60 years and those above 45 with comorbidities can get coronavirus vaccine from 1 March. The vaccine will be offered free of cost at government facilities and for a charge at many private hospitals, the Union Cabinet under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided on Wednesday.

“The second phase of the world’s largest vaccination drive will start from Monday in which anybody above 60 years, that may not be less than 10 crore people in the country, and 45 years plus with co-morbidities will be given vaccines in 10,000 government medical facilities and also over 20,000 private hospitals,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar told a media briefing.

“Whoever goes to the government centre will be administered vaccine free of cost. The Indian government will pay for them. The government will purchase the necessary doses and will send them to all the states.”

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The list of what constitutes a co-morbidity will be finalised and released soon. And the amount that has to be paid in case one opts for private hospitals will also be decided in the next three-four days. The health ministry is in discussions with manufacturers as well as hospitals regarding the same.

At vaccination sites, those seeking a dose will need to prove their identity by showing a government-issued identity card.

The government had earlier said that it would use CoWin (Covid Vaccine Intelligence Network) mobile app to help people register for their inoculation and locate the nearest vaccination centres. The app is currently restricted to government employees and users. Once the app is available to the public, users will be able to register themselves with details of the documents required..

India launched the coronavirus vaccination campaign on January 16, and in the period since, the cumulative number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered to healthcare and frontline workers has crossed 1.23 crore in the country

Meanwhile, with 13,742 new infections, India’s Covid-19 count has gone up to 1,10,30,176 while recoveries are at 1,07,26,702, according to official data released on Wednesday. There are 1,46,907 active coronavirus cases in the country, which comprises 1.33 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated.

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