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    Second phase of Covid-19 vaccination drive begins

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    The second phase of India’s vaccination drive against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) will begin on Monday, with the Union health ministry saying that those eligible for immunisation can register and book appointments from 9am to 3pm on March 1, as the country ramps up its battle against the infectious disease almost a year after the first cluster of cases in Delhi.

    From Monday, people eligible for the next phase can walk up to a vaccination centre to be registered for a dose. The decision will allow anyone above the age of 60 and those older than 45 but with comorbidities that make them more vulnerable to Covid-19 to approach government and private hospitals for shots. While the doses will be administered for free at government facilities, private hospitals can charge up to ₹250 per dose.

    “A lot of hard work has gone into reaching this phase wherein the government is beginning to vaccinate the general population. The vaccines are absolutely safe to use and are in use not just in India but in other countries as well,” said Union health minister Harsh Vardhan.

    Meanwhile, the health officials in Delhi have directed the hospitals to keep the drive going six days a week from 9 am to 5 pm. Also, one person is eligible to register up to 4 beneficiaries, however, the identification proof for each has to be different. The beneficiaries will be able to access and edit their details o registration and appointments till vaccination.

    The health ministry said “Once the date of appointment is booked, the CoWin portal will schedule the person for the second dose on the 29th day from the first shot. However, in certain given cases, the second dose can be rescheduled up to the 42nd day. There will be a special reserve slot as well beyond the 42nd day,” the ministry clarifies.

    For example, for March 1, the slots will be open from 9am till 3pm and the appointments can be booked anytime before then, subject to availability. However, on March 1, an appointment can also be booked for any future date for which vaccination slots are available. The registration will take place on the upgraded Co-WIN platform and also on other government-approved mobile-based applications.

    The immunisation drive across the country was halted for Saturday and Sunday to move to the new Co-WIN platform that will allow the self-registration of recipients.

    According to the health ministry’s Co-WIN guidelines issued on Sunday, one person will be able to register only three more eligible people using their mobile number.

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