In a significant devlopment, the Union Health Ministry on Saturday (April 3) said that healthcare workers  and other frontline workers can no longer register for COVID-19 vacciation. It is to be noted that healthcare and other frontline workers were eligible to receive COVID-19 jab in the first phase of inoculation. THe Health Ministry explained the reason behind the move saying that the decision has been taken after dicsussions in order to give COVID-19 vaccine to more categories of citizens, like those above the age of 45.

The Union Helath Ministry added that there were reports that some ineligible beneficiaries of the prior categories were misusing the government's order and were adding their names in order to receive COVID-19 vaccine jab in violation of the guidelines issued by the Centre and this was blocking others who are now eligible to receive the vaccine shot.

“All efforts have been made in close collaboration with states/UTs to saturate vaccination for HCWs and FLWs. While tracking the progress, the timeline for completing vaccination of all HCWs and FLWs with the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine has been extended multiple times and was elapsed since these timelines and even after starting vaccination of population above 60 years, provision was made to register and vaccinate HCWs and FLWs with a view to ensure optimum coverage,” Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said in a letter. 

“Various inputs have been received from different sources that in some of the CVCs (Covid vaccination centres), some ineligible beneficiaries are being registered as HCWs and FLWs and are getting vaccinated in complete violation of the prescribed guidelines. There has been a 24 per cent increase in HCW database in the past few days. This issue was discussed with state representatives and domain knowledge experts… It has been decided that no fresh registrations in categories of HCWs and FLWs will be allowed with immediate effect,” the letter added.

It may be recalled that the countrywide vaccination drive was launched on January 16 and the vaccination of frontline workers started from February 2.

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