As the third phase of India's vaccination drive kickstarted on Thursday, the government directed the states to conduct vaccination on all days in April, including gazetted holidays. The move is aimed to cover maximum beneficiaries.

The government also asked the states to ensure that necessary arrangements are made for the same.

“All Covid vaccination centres (CVCs), both in the public and private sector, should remain open on all days for the entire month of April for the convenience of potential beneficiaries,” Centre wrote to states.

The statement, issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, added that the step has been taken after consulting with the state and union territories on March 31.

“This step has been taken after detailed deliberations with the states and UTs on March 31 to optimally utilise all COVID-19 Vaccination Centres across the public and private sectors to ensure rapid increase in the pace and coverage of COVID vaccination,” read the statement.

“This decision is in line with the graded and pro-active approach employed by the government of India along with the states and UTs for COVID-19 vaccination,” it added.

On Thursday, April 1, started the third phase of the COVID-19 vaccination programme for everyone older than 45 years, irrespective of comorbidities.

On the first day of India’s expanded vaccination drive, more than 2.2 million people signed up for coronavirus vaccines and at least two million were given shots till 9 pm.

This comes in the wake of India witnessing a sudden surge in infections in many states and cities, hinting at a second wave of the pandemic.

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