Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Friday that the third phase of COVID-19 vaccination is expected to start next month, which will include people above 50 years of age.
While answering supplementary in Lok Sabha, Harsh Vardhan said Rs 35,000 crore has been provided for COVID-19 vaccines in the Union Budget 2021-22, and Finance Minister has assured that allocation can be increased if required.
The first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive was launched in India on January 16 to vaccinate one crore healthcare workers.
“The second phase started in different parts of the country from February 2 in which vaccine is being administered to frontline workers whose numbers are estimated to be around two crores. After the completion of phase 1 and phase 2, it is possible that in the next month, the third phase will start in which citizens over 50 (years) will be vaccinated across the country.”
पहले और दूसरे चरण में Health Workers और Frontline Workers का #vaccination होने के बाद तीसरे चरण का वैक्सीनेशन मार्च महीने के किसी भी हफ़्ते में शुरू होने की संभावना है। तीसरे चरण में 50 साल से अधिक उम्र वालों का वैक्सीनेशन किया जाएगा।@PMOIndia #BudgetSession pic.twitter.com/JWcDmrhlaY
— Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) February 5, 2021
“It is difficult to announce any fixed date (for the third phase) right now but it is expected that the third phase of the vaccination drive will start in the second, third or fourth week of March,” he added.
The minister said that National Expert Group on Vaccine has been constituted, and it will take the relevant decisions.
Nearly 50 lakh beneficiaries vaccinated against Covid-19
The Union Health Ministry on Friday stated, nearly 50 lakh beneficiaries have been vaccinated under the countrywide Covid-19 vaccination exercise, while India’s total active cases have dropped to 1.51 lakh. India’s total active cases continue to follow a consistent downward slide consisting of just 1.40 per cent of total infections.
Following a downward trajectory, 12,408 daily new cases were recorded within the time span of 24 hours.
The ministry said, “India’s cases per million population (7,828) are amongst the lowest in the world. This count is much higher for countries like Russia, Germany, Italy, Brazil, France, UK and USA.”
17 states and UTs have a lower case per million population than the national average. Lakshadweep has the lowest average of 1,722 cases per million among all states and UTs.
Around 5, 49,59,445 beneficiaries have received the vaccination till February with 5,09,893 people receiving the shots in a span of 24 hours across 11,184 sessions.
A total of 95,801 sessions have been conducted so far. The ministry said that 61 per cent of beneficiaries vaccinated are from 8 states and UTs. Uttar Pradesh accounts for 11.9 per cent (5,89,101) of the total beneficiaries vaccinated in India.
In a span of 24 hours, a total of 1,04,96,308 people have recovered so far with 15,853 patients recuperating.