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covid-19: Recipients will be told of vaccine name only at hospital

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New Delhi: Guidelines for the next phase of Covid-19 vaccination issued to states on Friday make it clear that the recipients will only learn which jab they are getting — Covishield or Covaxin — at the inoculation centre and not when the appointment is scheduled.

ET has learnt that allocations to private hospitals will be determined by the state governments. Eligible private hospitals, officials clarified, will not have a say in choosing vaccines they want to offer.

According to the guidance document released by the health ministry for the next phase starting Monday, a centre will provide only one type of vaccine. “This is necessary to avoid mixing of vaccine types in first and second dose of a beneficiary,” the guidance document said.

“Vaccine type will not be disclosed at the time of appointment,” it said.

Phase-3 of vaccination will cover those above 60 and those over 45 with comorbidities. The Centre said a person who will turn 60 by January 1, 2022 will be included in the drive. Covaxin will be offered at private hospitals for the first time.

Both Jabs Safe

So far, states have restricted Covaxin to government medical colleges and hospitals. This was because the jab needs consent forms to be signed by recipients as well as active follow-ups to track adverse events following immunisation (AEFIs) as it’s still under trials.

Self-registration will allow a beneficiary to schedule an appointment by choosing a vaccination centre.

The ministry has left it to states to assign vaccines to inoculation sites after they indicate their requirements to the Centre.

“The state government would assign vaccine type and amount to private hospitals. We are assigning Covaxin to private hospitals,” Odisha National Health Mission director Shalini Pandit told ET.

Odisha is one of the 18 states which had been assigned Covaxin in the first phase of vaccination covering healthcare and frontline workers.

The Centre has maintained that both vaccines are safe. However, states such as Chhattisgarh, Punjab and Kerala have not used Covaxin, citing lack of phase-3 trial data.

“We have not differentiated between the vaccine type — the vaccination is voluntary,” said a senior health ministry official. “A person would get to know which centre is offering what vaccine when he reaches there. He would be explained everything as is the set protocol.”

The government is also planning an awareness document for eligible recipients to dispel doubts about the vaccines.

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