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Health dept to chalk out plans for vaccinating the elderly

KOLKATA: State Health department will chalk out plans to smoothly conduct vaccination drives on the common people, particularly those above the age of 50.

Senior health officials held a meeting to discuss various issues related to the inoculation drive among common masses. The health officials are considering various aspects before beginning the drive among the elderly citizens. Sources in the health department said the process of vaccinating the elderly may start in the state in a month's time if everything goes as per plan. The Health department is ready to conduct the drive among the elderly citizens. The process will begin after the state receives the clearance from the Union Health Ministry.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan during his recent visit to the city had stated that the process of vaccinating the elderly citizens will begin across the country from March. It is yet to be seen if the Centre can start the drive for the senior citizens within the stipulated time.

It was learnt that the Health department will soon prepare a comprehensive data of the people above the age of 50 who are expected to get vaccinated after the front line workers. The district health officials will deploy the health workers who may collect data from the households. Various other methods may also be applied to collect data of the elderly people. Vaccination drive will only be done on the senior citizens if they meet the parameters set by the Union Health Ministry.

The Bengal government has been successfully conducting the vaccination drive among the health workers. Nearly 4 lakh health workers have already received the vaccine in the state. Vaccinating the police personnel has already been started and other front line workers other than health workers will soon receive the shots. After the front line workers, the elderly people would receive the vaccine.

The state government has been applying both Covishield and Covaxin among the people. A section of health workers are still reluctant to receive Covaxin as they need to fill up a consent form. As a result there has been a slight dip in the administration of Covaxin due to the fear that has been triggered among some people. There is however no issue of Covishield. Due to the no proper functioning of the CoWIN app developed by the Centre to track the inoculation drive, the vaccination drive gets little slower in the state. The Bengal government is exploring all possibilities to expedite the vaccination process.

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