In a move to expand coverage of the vaccination programme and step up the fight against a resurgence of Covid-19 infections, the government on Tuesday announced that anyone above 45 years of age, without any requirement to show comorbidities, can get the shots from April 1.
Following the announcement, over 34 crore people in all are estimated to be eligible for vaccinations. At present, people above 60 and those in the 45-60 age group with specified co-morbidities, can take the jab.
The decision to expand the age eligibility comes at a time when calls for faster rollout of the shots are rising. Even though the pace of vaccinations has been accelerating, the rollout has been uneven with states reporting unfulfilled capacities and below-expectation participation of private sector hospitals.
Till 7 pm on Tuesday, 2.1 crore people above 60 years and 45.6 lakh people between 45 to 60 years with specified comorbidities have received the first dose of the vaccine. In all, India administered over 5 crore vaccine doses, including those to healthcare and frontline workers, with 4.2 crore people receiving the first dose.