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Centre allows Covid shots at public, private workplaces

Centre allows Covid shots at public, private workplaces
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New Delhi: In a move aimed at increasing the coverage of vaccination as the country is witnessing an explosive surge in new Covid-19 cases, the government has decided to allow Covid vaccination at workplaces that have around 100 eligible and willing beneficiaries from April 11 onwards and the states/UTs have been asked to make adequate preparations in this regard.

According to the guidelines issued by the Union Health ministry, the Covid-19 vaccination sessions may now be organised at workplaces (both public and private) which are having about 100 eligible and willing beneficiaries by tagging these workplaces with an existing COVID Vaccination Centre (CVC).

At these extended vaccination centres, only employees of workplace aged 45 years or more will be eligible for vaccination and no outsiders, including eligible family members, will be allowed.

However, the vaccination at the government workplace will be free of cost while that at the private units will cost Rs 250 to every eligible beneficiary for every dose.

As per the guidelines, the District Task Force (DTF) chaired by District Magistrate and Urban Task Force (UTF) chaired by Municipal Commissioner will identify such government and private workplaces after due deliberations with relevant employers or heads of offices.

Workplace management will designate one of their senior staff to work as 'nodal officer' to coordinate with district health authorities/private Covid Vaccination Centres (CVCs) and support vaccination activities, the guidelines said.

"With the support of the state governments/UT administration, efforts have been to consistently make the vaccination drive more pragmatic and also more acceptable and purposeful to the beneficiaries," Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said, adding that states have been further advised to initiate due consultations with private/public sector employers and management to prepare for the launch of workplace vaccination.

Commenting on the concerns raised by some states over vaccination shortage, Union Health minister Harsh Vardhan slammed the state governments by dubbing it as "deplorable attempts by some state governments to distract attention from their failures and spread panic among the people".

The "lackadaisical attitude" of the Maharashtra government had singularly bogged down the entire country's efforts to fight the virus, he said in a hard-hitting statement.

Later in the day, the Union Health ministry has sent letters to Health Secretaries of Delhi, Punjab and Maharashtra stating that these states have not utilised all the vaccine doses provided by the Centre.

In case of Delhi, the Union Health ministry letter stated that out of the total 23,70,710 doses, which was made available to Delhi, the state has reported consumption (including wastage) of 18,70,662 doses of the vaccine till date.

Similarly, out of the total 1,06,19,190 doses, which was made available to Maharashtra, the state has reported consumption (including wastage) of 90,53,523 doses of the vaccine till date, while Punjab has reported consumption of 14,94,663 doses of the vaccine out of the total 23,36,770 that were made available by the Centre.

Meanwhile, the cumulative number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the country crossed 8.83 crore on Wednesday. As per the provisional report of the Health ministry, a total of 8,83,72,277 vaccine doses have been given till 8 pm till the 82nd day of the nationwide vaccination drive that began on January 16.

The total vaccination figure includes 13,14,623 vaccine doses given in a single day till 8 pm on Wednesday.

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