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Get Vaccinated 24×7 at Your Convenience: Health Minister Harsh Vardhan

In News
March 03, 2021

NEW DELHI:
In a move that will speed up India’s vaccination drive against the coronavirus, the government on Wednesday has removed time constraints on both private and government hospitals working as vaccine centres. Now hospitals do not have to stick to a fixed schedule and can also extend or advance the vaccination process any day.
Informing about the same, Union Health Minister, Harsh Vardhan, today tweeted, “The government has removed time constraint to increase the speed of vaccination. People can get vaccinated 24×7 at their convenience. Prime Minister Narendra Modi understands the value of both time and health of citizens”.

The health minister’s response came on a newspaper report that stated that private hospitals, working as vaccination centres, can choose any time window to administer people with the COVID-19 vaccine. Since both private and government hospitals, involved in the world’s biggest inoculation drive are linked to the Co-Win app, the flexibility in the schedule is applied to both.

“The Cowin portal has no 9 am to 5 pm vaccination system. It allows hospitals to vaccinate for as long as they want, even till 8 pm they can vaccinate. They can start as early as 8 am if they want. They will have to coordinate with the state government for schedule and capacity,” Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said on Tuesday.

Bhushan further said that another reason for flexible timing is to avoid crowding at vaccination sites. “We did not want to divide time into compartments. It can be morning or afternoon, depending on hospital capacity… It’s important feedback that overcrowding is happening. We will make changes in the system to prevent overcrowding at vaccination sites,” he said.

Meanwhile, the government had on Tuesday granted permission to all private hospitals to give the COVID-19 vaccine if they follow the guidelines laid down by the Health Ministry. It also asked all states and union territories to utilise the optimum capacity of private medical facilities empanelled under three categories.

“Further, states and UTs (Union Territories) in consultation with private hospitals should open vaccination slots for 15 days to a month and announce this as part of their vaccine timetable,” the Health Ministry said in a statement.

With the vaccination drive entering the second phase in which people aged above 60 and those over 45 with specified co-morbidities are being given the jab, the Health Ministry urged states and UTs not to store, preserve, conserve or create a buffer stock of the COVID-19 vaccines.