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Come the 1st of April, more Indians will be eligible for getting vaccinated against covid-19 as the Indian government has opened its vaccination drive to all people over the age of 45.
India has so far vaccinated nearly 50 million people but the programme to
inoculate 300 million people by the end of July is behind schedule, experts say.
Until now only “frontline” workers in healthcare and other areas, together with people over 60 and those over 45 with co-morbidities, have been eligible for either the AstraZeneca vaccine or a homegrown Bharat Biotech shot.
“Following scientific and (Covid19) task force advice, the cabinet today decided to open vaccinations for everyone over 45 years from April 1,” Prakash Javadekar, information and broadcast minister, told reporters.
Javadekar also announced that state governments had been directed to provide the second dose four to eight weeks after the first, compared to an earlier regime of four to six weeks.
Experts say that many people are reluctant to get vaccinated for a variety of reasons including safety concerns and apathy about the pandemic after a sharp fall in infections since September.
The number of infections has been rising again in recent weeks, and several regions have been reimposing restrictions on gatherings and activity.
(With inputs from AFP)