New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Expanding the COVID-19 vaccination drive further, the Centre on Tuesday decided to vaccinate all people above 45 years of age from April 1 and asked the people eligible to get the vaccine shot to register on the CoWin portal and get the vaccine shot. 

Currently, people who are above 60 years of age and those above 45 years with some comorbid conditions, are allowed to take the vaccine jab in the country. 

Announcing the latest development, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said, "It has been decided that from 1st April, the vaccine will open for everybody above 45 years of age. We request that all eligible should immediately register and get vaccinated."

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.

Earlier in the day, 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. 

The Health Ministry said that the total number of coronavirus cases of the UK, South Africa and Brazil variants in India stands at 795 to date. 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.  

A genomic consortium of 10 regional laboratories with the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as the apex laboratory has been established to perform genomic sequencing of the samples from positive travellers and 5 per cent of the positive test samples from the community. 

The cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 4.72 crore with 19,65,635 doses being given on Monday. A total of 4,72,07,134 vaccine doses have been given till 7 pm on Monday, according to a provisional report. 

These include 78,30,626 healthcare workers (HCWs) who have taken the first dose and 49,30,888 HCWs who have taken the second dose, 81,72,121 frontline workers (FLWs) who have received the first dose and 27,93,013 FLWs who have taken the second dose. Besides 1,94,07,739 beneficiaries aged above 60 years and 40,72,747 beneficiaries aged 45 to 60 with specific co-morbidities have been administered the first dose. 

The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 with healthcare workers getting inoculated and vaccination of the frontline 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.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan