India begins 3rd phase of vaccination drive for those above 45 years

New Delhi, Apr 1 (efe-epa).- India began its third phase of vaccination on Thursday to immunize people over the age of 45, as it seeks to accelerate its campaign amid a second wave of Covid-19 cases in the country.

In this phase, everyone born before Jan. 1, 1977 can register through the COWIN digital platform to receive the first dose of the vaccine, according to the health ministry.

India, one of the largest manufacturers of AstraZeneca’s formula, Covishield; and producer of its own indigenous vaccine, Covaxin – from the Indian laboratory Bharat Biotech -, is carrying out one of the largest immunization campaigns in the world using so far only doses manufactured in the country.

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, after a review of the preparations for this phase on Wednesday, claimed there were enough vaccines for its campaign.

“In a country as vast & populous as ours, significant efforts have gone into strengthening end-to-end supply chain infra to ensure last-mile delivery of #COVID19 vaccine,” Vardhan tweeted.

“Priority groups were inoculated first, gradually increasing coverage to other sections as well,” he added.

According to official data, 64.3 million doses have so far been administered to priority groups in the first two phases.

The earlier two phases only focused on inoculating health workers, frontline workers, people above 60 years and those above 50 years with chronic ailments.

The third phase comes at a time when the authorities seek to immunize 300 million people by August.

According to the Ministry of Health, on the 71st day of the vaccination campaign on Wednesday, 1.3 million doses were administered, which is less than half of the expected numbers.

The third phase also coincides with a violent increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the country, which recorded its daily cases in more than five months with 72,330 fresh infections and 459 deaths in the last 24 hours.

India has recorded a total 12.2 million cases and 162,927 deaths since the start of the pandemic. EFE-EPA


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