New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: In a bid to ramp up the vaccination drive, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on late Saturday night directed state and union territory (UT) governments that no fresh registrations of healthcare staff and frontline workers will be allowed.

In its letter to states and UTs, the Union Health Ministry said that the decision has been taken because some ineligible beneficiaries were getting their names enlisted for vaccination against COVID-19, under this category, in violation of rules.

It also said that the registration of people above the age of 45 will continue on the Co-WIN portal, adding that all efforts have been made to saturate vaccination of HCWs and FLWs.

While tracking the progress, timeline for completing vaccination of all HCWs and FLWs with first dose of COVID-19 vaccine has been extended multiple times and was finally fixed at February 25 for HCWs and March 6 for FLWs, said Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan in his letter.

Around one month has elapsed since these timelines and even after starting the vaccination of the population above 60 years, provision was made to register and vaccinate HCWs and FLWs with a view to ensure optimal coverage, he underlined.

"Various inputs have been received from different sources that in some of the COVID-19 vaccination centres (CVCs), some ineligible beneficiaries are being registered as HCWs and FLWs and are getting vaccinated in complete violation of the prescribed guidelines," Bhushan said.

There has been 24 per cent increase in HCWs database in the past few days.

"This issue was discussed with state representatives and domain knowledge experts in the NEGVAC meeting today, and as per the recommendation of National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC), it has been decided that no fresh registrations in categories of HCWs and FLWs will be allowed with immediate effect. Registrations of persons aged 45 years and above will continue to be permitted on CoWIN portal," he said in the letter.

"I request you to kindly direct the officials concerned for wider dissemination of this policy decision for compliance. However, universal vaccination of already registered HCWs and FLWs should be ensured at the earliest," he added.

India had launched the nationwide coronavirus vaccination drive on January 16. The next phase of the drive to inoculate FLWs was started from February 2. From March 1, the vaccination drive for those over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions was started.

(With inputs from PTI)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma