NEW DELHI: Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary along with Dr. R. S. Sharma, Chairman of Empowered Group on Vaccine Administration (Co-WIN) and member, National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration of COVID-19 (NEGVAC) chaired a high-level meeting today with Health Secretaries and MDs (NHM) of States and Union Territories (UTs) on the vaccination of age-appropriate groups through a video conference (VC) today.
The nationwide COVID-19 Vaccination drive was launched on 16th January, 2021. This is now to be exponentially expanded to the following age-groups from 1st March, 2021:
i) all citizens above 60 years of age, and
ii) those within the age bracket of 45 to 59 years with specified co-morbidities
The States and UTs were explained the basic features of version 2.0 of the digital platform CO-Win, which is a population-scale software with capacity of processing several thousands of entries. The new phase of vaccination of age-appropriate groups will expand the COVID vaccination in the country manifold. With a citizen –centric approach, the fundamental shift in this phase is that citizens in the identified age groups, as also those healthcare workers and frontline who have been missed out or left out of the present phase of vaccination, can select vaccination centres of their choice. Secondly, the private sector hospitals will be involved as COVID Vaccination centres to harness their potential to expand the vaccination capacities.
It was pointed out that all COVID Vaccination Centers (CVCs) must be health facilities as under:
Government health facilities such as SHCs, PHCs, CHCs, Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centres, Sub-Division Hospitals, District Hospitals and Medical College Hospitals.
All Private Hospitals empanelled under Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS), Ayushman Bharat- Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (AB-PM JAY) and similar State Health Insurance Schemes.
States/UTs were asked to ensure that the private health facilities mandatorily must have the following for using them as COVID Vaccination Centres:
They must have adequate space for the vaccination process, as detailed in the comprehensive SOPs issued by the Ministry;
They must have basic cold chain equipments for storing the vaccine vials;
They must have their own team of vaccinators and staff;
They must have adequate facility for management of any AEFI cases.
All beneficiaries, regardless of the mode of access, must be advised to carry any one of the following photo ID document:
Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC)
The Photo ID card specified at the time of registration in case of online registration (if not Aadhar or EPIC)
Certificate of co-morbidity for citizens in age group of 45 years to 59 years (signed by a registered medical practitioner)
Employment certificate/ Official Identity Card – (either but with photo and date of birth) for HCWs and FLWs
The States and UTs were explained the simplified process of registration, which shall be through three routes:
The beneficiaries will be able to self register in advance by downloading the CO-Win 2.0 portal and through other IT Applications such as Arogya Setu etc. This will show the Government and private hospitals serving as COVID Vaccination Centres (CVCs) with date and time of the available schedules. The beneficiary would be able to choose the CVC of his/her choice and book an appointment for vaccination.
Facility of On-Site registration allows those who cannot self register in advance to walk into the identified COVID Vaccination Centres and get themselves registered on-site and then vaccinated.
Facilitated Cohort Registration:
Under this mechanism, the State/UT Government will take proactive lead. Specific date(s) for COVID vaccination will be decided where target groups of potential beneficiates will be vaccinated. The State/UT health authorities will ensure that that the target groups are actively mobilised and brought to the vaccination centres. ASHAs, ANMs, Panchayati Raj representatives and Women’s Self Help Groups (SHGs) will be utilized for mobilizing the target groups.
Under all the above three routes, all beneficiaries would be captured on Co-WIN2.0 platform and would be issued digital QR Code based provisional (on receiving the first does) and final (on receiving second dose) certificates. These can be downloaded from the link shown in the SMS the beneficiary shall receive after the vaccination. Print out of these certificates can also be taken from the Vaccination Centres.
Vaccination will be free of charge at the Government Vaccination Centres. The beneficiary will have to show a photo ID document for proof of age (preferably Aadhar card or EPIC card) and certificate of co-morbidity (if required). Those taking the COVID vaccine at any designated/empanelled private health facility will have to pay a pre-fixed charge.
States and UTs have been asked to keep a Vaccination Scale-up Plan ready which will include the granular weekly and fortnightly plans for scaling up the vaccination sites both within the government and private facilities and also the number of vaccine doses administered.