New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The central government has asked states and union territories (UTs) to increase the pace of vaccination of healthcare staff and frontline workers so that people above the age of 50 and those with co-morbidities can be inoculated from March 1.

In its letter dated February 19, the Centre said that number of days of vaccination in a week should be increased to a minimum of four days per week to step up the process of vaccination. The Centre also said that a large number of healthcare and frontline workers remain to be covered and the progress is variable across the country.

"As highlighted during several review meetings that have been conducted with the states and UTs, the pace of vaccination drive and its coverage needs to be accelerated exponentially to cover all identified beneficiaries in a minimum possible time," the Centre said.

"Further, the operational strategy for initiating the vaccination of next priority group of elderly population and persons with comorbidities to be taken up in March 2021 is also being finalised," it added.

The Centre also advised states and UTs to ensure that all public health facilities from tertiary level medical colleges, hospitals and institutes to district hospitals, sub-divisional hospitals, community health centres, PHCs, health and wellness centres, health sub-centres etc. should be prepared for offering COVID-19 vaccination services on all designated vaccination days beginning March 1.

"You are requested to kindly direct the concerned officials to immediately undertake measures for expansion of COVID-19 vaccination drive. Your continuous guidance to the state and UT teams has been instrumental in driving the ongoing vaccination process and the same is anticipated for upcoming phases as well. I look forward to your continued collaboration in this critical mission of national importance," the letter stated.

India had launched the world's largest vaccination drive against COVID-19 in January. Since then, the country has administered 1,10,85,173 vaccine doses.

However, with the country reporting a spike in COVID-19 cases, the Centre has flagged concerns and asked states and UTs to ensure that coronavirus norms and protocols are followed. It has also asked states and UTs to take strict action against those flouting COVID-19 norms.

(With PTI Inputs)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma