People Above 50 May Get Covid Vaccines Starting Next Month:
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Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said that the government will be in a situation to administer vaccines to those above 50 years of age in March, in the next phase of India's Covid-19 vaccination drive. He also said that an expert group on vaccination will discuss how to pay for vaccination of those above 50 years of age.

He informed that in the last 7 days, no new cases of COVID19 have been reported in 188 districts of the country. He also emphasised the importance of maintaining social distancing and Covid appropriate behaviors amid the pandemic. "It is crucial that people continue to follow COVID appropriate behavior which I had called a social vaccine, along with real vaccine," the health minister said.

The health ministry also said that a new flagship program of PM Atmanirbhar Swastha Bharat Yojana has been announced. "Budget has referred to a holistic approach toward health and health care. Allocation to the health sector for 2020-21 is 1.8% of GDP," the ministry added.

80-85% frontline workers vaccinated, 20-25 countries to be availed with the vaccine. At least 18-20 vaccines are in preclinical, clinical, and advanced stages. No one death reported due to Covid-19 vaccination. Earlier, in Lok Sabha, Vardhan had said that inoculation of those aged above 50 is likely to commence in March and will cover 27 crore people aged 50 years and above and those with co-morbidities.

Replying to questions on vaccines and the vaccination drive against the coronavirus during the Question Hour, Vardhan said nearly five million people have been inoculated in the country so far. "In coming days, 27 crore people who are of above 50 years of age and those under 50 with co-morbidities will be vaccinated," Vardhan said.

"After the completion of first and second phases, the third phase could be launched from any week next month," Vardhan said. He added that the third phase will cover people above the age of 50. "It is not possible to give an exact date, but we estimate that this process can start in the second, third, or the fourth week of March."