The Centre has directed states to begin vaccinating frontline workers along with healthcare workers from the first week of February onward, senior Health Ministry officials said.
The direction came as India completed vaccinating 33 lakh healthcare workers against the novel coronavirus on Friday.
“Our Co-Win system has stabilised. Yesterday we conducted 5.2 lakh vaccinations in a single day. Today again we will cross the 5 lakh mark. The system has accelerated, and that speed has stabilised. Also, we have sufficient quantities of vaccines. Therefore, vaccination of both groups will move simultaneously,” a senior Health Ministry official said.
The Ministry has communicated to states that “further augmentation” of Covaxin and Covishield stocks will be made through “subsequent releases of vaccine doses”.
The estimated 2 crore frontline workers (FLWs) who will now be vaccinated include personnel from state and central police forces, the armed forces, home guards, and civil defence organisations, and prison staff, disaster management volunteers, and municipal workers.
Like the healthcare workers, the bulk beneficiaries list has already been uploaded on the Co-Win platform, officials said. “The database of FLWs has been uploaded by states/UTs in collaboration with respective line ministries and as on date, database of more than 61 lakh FLWs has been uploaded on Co-Win,” Dr Manohar Agnani, additional secretary in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, wrote to the states.
The Ministry said on Friday that more than 33 lakh healthcare workers had been administered the vaccine so far. “4,40,681 beneficiaries were vaccinated till 7 pm today, the fourteenth day of nationwide Covid-19 vaccination. Final reports would be completed for the day by late tonight,” it said.
In his detailed communication to states, Agnani said: “As you are aware, the pan India Covid-19 vaccination drive initiated on 16 January, 2021, aims to cover healthcare workers and frontline workers in the initial phase. As on 29 January, 2021, we have been able to vaccinate a total of 29.28 lakh HCWs and the efforts put in by the states and UTs is appreciable.
“I request you to kindly direct the concerned officials to initiate requisite planning and review for initiating vaccination of FLWs along with HCWs from first week of February, 2021. Your unstinted support is prerequisite to achieve the desired acceleration and impact of the Covid-19 vaccination drive.”