New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Monday said that the country will be able to vaccinate people above 50 years of age with the vaccine against the coronavirus in March 2021. The Minister also asserted that people should continue following COVID-19 appropriate behaviour and termed it 'social vaccine', to avoid contracting the deadly virus. 

"We will be in a situation to administer vaccines to those above 50 years of age in March", Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said, adding, "It is crucial that people continue to follow COVID appropriate behaviour which I had called a 'social vaccine', along with real vaccine". 

The health minister also informed that 80 to 85 per cent of frontline workers have been administered the coronavirus vaccine so far. India on January 16 started the vaccination drive against the coronavirus, which has afflicted over a crore of people in the country and has claimed lives of more than 1.55 lakh. 

Informing about the coronavirus situation in India, Harsh Vardhan further said that around 188 districts in the country have not reported a single case of COVID-19 in last 7 days. He also said that 18-20 vaccine candidates are in preclinical, clinical and advance stages and could be approved for use in the coming months. 

"80-85% frontline workers vaccinated, 20-25 countries to be availed with the vaccine. At least 18-20 vaccines are in preclinical, clinical & advanced stages. Expect them in the coming months", he said. 

According to the Health Ministry's data, India's total COVID-19 active cases currently stand at 1.39 lakh with 33 states and union territories having reported less than 5,000 active cases in a span of 24 hours. Three states -- Kerala, Maharashtra and Karnataka -- cumulatively account for 77 per cent (76.5 per cent) of India's total active cases. Kerala, Maharashtra together account for 74.72 per cent of the total active cases.

A total of 82,85,295 beneficiaries have been vaccinated through 1,73,729 sessions, as per the provisional report till 8 am. These include 59,88,113 HCWs (1st dose), 24,561 HCWs (2nd dose) and 22,72,621 FLWs (1st dose). The 2nd dose of COVID-19 vaccination started on February 13 for those beneficiaries who have completed 28 days after receipt of the 1st dose.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan