The Union government has said that on-site registration for COVID-19 inoculation for healthcare and frontline workers aged 18 to 44 years will now only be available at government COVID-19 vaccination centres. They will have to produce original photo identity cards and a copy of their employment certificate, it said. In a communique to states and union territories (UTs) on Monday, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said on-site registration facility for "genuinely leftover" healthcare workers (HCWs) and frontline workers (FLWs) will be available only at government COVID vaccinations centres (CVCs).
The Union government on Saturday had conveyed to states and Union Territories that no fresh registration of HCWs and FLWs will be allowed with immediate effect, since some ineligible beneficiaries were violating guidelines by getting their names enlisted and getting inoculated under this category.
Bhushan said, "Please refer to my letter dated 3rd April, 2021, vide which, in view of vaccination of ineligible beneficiaries in the name of HCWs or FLWs at some CVCs, in complete violation of the prescribed guidelines, the decision of the NEGVAC that, no fresh registration in the categories of HCWs and FLWs will be allowed, has been communicated".
NEGVAC or the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 has been established by the government to provide guidance on all aspects of COVID-19 vaccination. Bhushan said that for on-site registration, it will be mandatory for HCWs and FLWs to produce their original photo-identity card and a copy of their employment certificate. The letter stated that the employer will be responsible to ensure that the certificate is issued to only eligible HCWs and FLWs.
"The employer and the HCW or FLW concerned will be personally responsible for the correctness of information in the employment certificate. It will be mandatory for the verifier to capture the employment certificate in the CoWIN system prior to registration of the HCW or FLW," it said.
The verifier or site manager will be responsible for uploading the employment certificate along with necessary details on the Co-WIN app, according to the letter. The app is a platform for citizens to register for COVID-19 vaccination and schedule their vaccination slots at the nearest vaccination centres.
Bhushan in his letter to states and UTs also said that various inputs have been received from different sources that in some CVCs, some ineligible beneficiaries are being registered as HCWs and FLWs, and they are getting vaccinated in complete violation of the prescribed guidelines.
"This issue was discussed with state representatives and domain knowledge experts in the NEGVAC meeting today, and as per the recommendation of the NEGVAC, it has been decided that no fresh registrations in categories of HCWs and FLWs will be allowed with immediate effect. Registrations of persons aged 45 years and above will continue to be permitted on the CoWIN portal," he said in the letter.
The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 with HCWs getting inoculated and vaccination of FLWs started from February 2.
The next phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive started on March 1 for those over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with co-morbid conditions. India launched vaccination for all people aged more than 45 from April 1.