India is rolling out its third phase of vaccination drive where all those above the age of 45 will be inoculated.

As the second wave of Coronavirus cases hit many states in the country, the central government believes that the situation is going from “bad to worse” and has therefore urged all states to vaccinate everyone above the age of 45 years. However, this is applicable for districts that have been witnessing a surge in viral caseload. In such areas, all states have to achieve 100 per cent vaccination coverage in the next two weeks.

It is to note that from tomorrow (April 1), India is rolling out its third phase of vaccination drive where all those above the age of 45 will be inoculated. In an official meeting with district and central government officials on Saturday, it was observed that 46 districts reported 70 per cent of the overall COVID-19 cases over the last month and 90 per cent of Covid-linked deaths were noticed in the age group above 45. Considering this, vaccination in the next two weeks is being aimed by the government and the Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has conveyed the same to all states and UTs, said a report by The IE. Moreover, Bhushan highlighted that if complacency is found at this stage and at any level, there will be heavy costs.

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To be sure, six states- Punjab, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have been reporting significant surge in daily cases and now are accountable for 78.56 per cent of the new cases. According to the report, Dr VK Paul- head, Covid task force in India said that the concern is serious with these states and shows that the virus is very much active. Not two months ago, the active cases were one lakh in the country and this has been recorded at 5.4 lakh currently. This is a five times rise in the number of active cases. In fact, the number of Coronavirus related deaths is also increasing.

Also Read: Building trust in COVID-19 vaccination: Data suggests top 5 vaccine preference among Indians

In such a scenario, focus is going on increasing COVID-19 testing exponentially. The states have also been urged to ensure that the proportion of RT-PCR tests when compared to rapid tests is higher. Paul emphasized that every state now has to be more vigilant when it comes to curbing the spread of the virus. Bhushan, on the other hand, has asked states to ramp up private sector participation in the vaccination drive for quick inoculation. He also asked the states to study and analyse system-related issues leading to deaths.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra has the maximum average positivity rate at 23.44 per cent followed by Punjab at 8.82 per cent and Chhattisgarh at 8.24 per cent. Similarly, Madhya Pradesh recorded the maximum average positivity rate at 7.82 per cent last week along with Tamil Nadu at 2.50 per cent.

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