A signed medical certificate – attesting to the severity of the illness – will be required of people who are over 45 and looking to get Covid vaccination in the second phase, sources said Wednesday night.
Earlier in the day Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said the second phase of vaccination would begin March 1, with priority for those over 60 and those over 45 with co-morbidities. He said around 27 crore people would be vaccinated in this stage, of whom around 10 crore are over 60.
According to sources the list of what constitutes a co-morbidity will be finalised and released in two days, but may include chronic diseases of the heart, lung, kidney and liver, as well as diabetes, cancer, severe asthma, and mental or learning disabilities.
It may also include people on immunosuppressants, those morbidly obese and those who had organ, bone marrow or stem cell transplants.
Sources said people who come under one of these categories would have to fill a single-page Yes/No form confirming their medical condition, and then get the form signed by a general physician.
They must then present this form at the vaccination centre to get their shots.
In privately-run vaccination centres the price of the shot is likely to be capped at around Rs 300, sources said this evening. Mr Javadekar earlier said the shots would be free at government centres.
The government had earlier said that it would use a mobile app – CoWin (Covid Vaccine Intelligence Network) – to help the public register for their shots and locate the nearest vaccination centres.
The app is currently restricted to “facility level users” or government employees and users.
Once the app is available to the public, sources said users must register themselves with details from their Aadhaar card, upload a photo ID and then the signed medical certificate.
They can then book a vaccination appointment at a nearby centre. People can also walk-in and get the vaccinations, so long as there are doses available and they fall in the eligible categories.
There is no clarity, as yet, on when registrations will open, but sources said the format of the medical certificate will be circulated to states soon. It will also be available in local languages.
India has so far approved two vaccines for emergency use – Covishield (developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, and manufactured by the Serum Institute) and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.
A third – Russia’s Sputnik V – has also applied for emergency use and this will be considered by a SEC (subject expert committee). Sputnik V has an efficacy rate of 91.6 per cent, which is higher than Covishield’s 70 per cent. Covaxin’s efficacy has not yet been confirmed.
There are 1.47 lakh active Covid cases in India as of this morning, with 13,742 new cases reported in the past 24 hours. Maharashtra and Kerala are worst-affected, with over 50,000 active cases in each.