Anyone over the age of 18 can walk in to the nearest vaccination centre to get registered on the CoWIN digital platform and be inoculated against COVID-19, the Union Health Ministry said.
It is not mandatory to pre-register online or book an appointment to get the vaccine, the government said, as it seeks to increase the pace of vaccinations and tackle the ‘vaccine hesitancy’ it has blamed for the slow rollout of vaccines in parts of the country, including rural areas.
‘Vaccine hesitancy’, the government said last week, is “a globally accepted phenomenon and should be addressed by scientifically studying the issue at the community level”. It said it was sharing a ‘COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Strategy’ with state/UT governments.
This was after two incidents – one from Uttar Pradesh, where an elderly woman hid behind a drum to dodge a vaccination team, and another from Madhya Pradesh, where a vaccination team was attacked by villagers – highlighted hesitancy reported from rural and tribal-dominated areas.
Vaccine hesitancy has also been blamed for the poor rate of vaccination in Tamil Nadu, which has one of the better healthcare systems of Indian states but is among the bottom five in terms of vaccinations.
Experts believe vaccinating people in the 18-44 age group – the country’s largest demographic – is key to being able to lift restrictions and try and re-start economic and commercial activity.
This morning the country reported fewer than 61,000 new Covid cases in the past 24 hours – the lowest daily figure since March 31. The declining trend in daily new cases – that number remained below the one lakh-mark for an eighth straight day today – suggests the second wave has peaked.
The government, however, has been urged to increase the rate of vaccination in anticipation of what many believe is an inevitable third wave, which could strike within the year…Read more>>