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The Centre on Saturday directed the states and Union Territories (UTs) that no fresh registrations of healthcare and frontline workers will be allowed.
According to the Centre, some ineligible beneficiaries were getting their names enlisted for vaccination against COVID-19, under this category, in violation of rules.
The Union Health Secretary, Rajesh Bhushan said in a letter that the registration of people aged 45 years and above will continue to be permitted on the Co-WIN portal.
He also asked the states/UTs to ensure universal vaccination of already registered healthcare workers (HCWs) and frontline workers (FLWs) at the earliest, reported Deccan Herald.
The vaccination drive, which started all over the country, was rolled out on January 16 for HCWs and inoculation for FLWs started from February 2.
The next phase of COVID-19 vaccination began on March 1 for those above 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions.
In the letter, Bhushan also pointed out that all efforts have been made in close collaboration with states and UTs to saturate vaccination of HCWs and FLWs.
The timeline for completing vaccination of all HCWs and FLWs with the first dose of the vaccine has already been extended multiple times. Bhushan stated that the final dates were fixed at February 25 for HCWs and March 6 for FLWs.
He underlined that after one month elapsing since these timelines, and despite starting the vaccination of the population above 60 years, enough provision was made to register and vaccinate HCWs and FLWs in order to attain optimal coverage.
Bhushan said, "Various inputs have been received from different sources that in some of the COVID-19 vaccination centres (CVCs), some ineligible beneficiaries are being registered as HCWs and FLWs are getting vaccinated in complete violation of the prescribed guidelines,"
According to official data, there has been a 24 per cent increase in the HCWs database in the past few days.
Bhushan also said this issue was discussed with state representatives and domain knowledge experts in the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration meeting today, and based on its recommendation, the decision was taken.
He further requested the concerned officials for wider dissemination of this policy decision for compliance. He also said that universal vaccination of already registered HCWs and FLWs should be ensured at the earliest.
The Union health ministry said on Saturday that the total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country had crossed 7.44 crore.
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