Registration, eligibility, schedule: All your Covid-19 vaccine Questions Answered:2021

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Here’s everything you need to know about India’s biggest vaccination drive and how to register yourself as a beneficiary

covid-19 vaccination drive, covid vaccine, covid vaccine dry-run, harsh vardhan, registering for covid vaccine, coronavirus, corona virus cases, Cowin, registration for vaccination, Ministry of Health Family and welfare, v
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Covid-19 vaccination to start soon for priority group. (IE Image, Representative)

The government started with the dry run for Covid-19 vaccination in most of the states. Soon a section of the population will receive their first vaccine shot. Preparation for administering doses at vaccine centers, logistics requirements, and other arrangements are also in full swing. The country’s top drug regulator, DCGI has approved Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for restricted emergency use.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan recently announced that vaccination in its first phase for priority group beneficiaries in all states will be free. “I appeal to the people not to be misguided by rumors regarding the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccine. We will not compromise on any protocol before approving a vaccine,” Vardhan said underlining that vaccine hesitancy was an issue even when the country started polio immunization drive, but “we must remember its success”.

In 1st phase of #COVID19Vaccination free #vaccine shall be provided across the nation to most prioritised beneficiaries that incl 1 crore healthcare & 2 crore frontline workers
Details of how further 27 cr priority beneficiaries are to be vaccinated until July are being finalised pic.twitter.com/K7NrzGrgk3

— Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) January 2, 2021

Here’s everything you need to know about India’s biggest vaccination drive and how to register yourself as a beneficiary:

Who will get the vaccine first

Healthcare workers

According to the recommendations of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC) one crore health workers working with both government and private hospitals will be first in the line to be inoculated.

The priority group has been further divided into sub-categories as frontline workers, Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) workers, nurses and supervisors, paramedical staff, medical officers, support staff and medical students.

All the data has been collected from the health care facilities and is being uploaded into Co-WIN, the digitalized platform to be used to effectively roll out and scale up the mechanism for Covid Vaccine Distribution System.

Frontline workers

Two crore frontline workers employed with central and state Police services, armed forces, civil defence organisation, disaster management, home guard, prison staff, municipal workers, revenue officials working with Covid-19 surveillance and other associated activities.

Workers associated with state government and ministries of defence, urban affairs, housing will also receive the vaccination in the first phase

People aged above 50 years

This group will be further divided in people above the age group pf 60 years and people above the age of 50 years with co-morbidities. Latest electoral roll of Assembly or Lok Sabha elections will be used as a reference to identify population for immunisation.

Age will be calculated based on the cut off date of 1st January 2021 and anyone born on or before 1st January 1971 will fall under this category.

Areas recording high Covid-19 infection rate

States and UTs at their discretion can do priority phasing of vaccine roll out in geographical areas where the infection is high.

Remaining population

Population below 50 years of age with associated comorbidities based on the evolving pandemic situation like diabetes, cancer, hypertension, lung diseases etc and finally to the remaining population based on the disease epidemiology and vaccine availability.

How to register for vaccination at session site

Common Service centres need to be utilized for self-registration and identity certification of the general population. Self-registration module will be made available in the later phases of implementation.

Individuals can select the method of authentication from the following methods

Biometric: With this demographic details of the individual from name to a permanent address in Aadhaar card will autofill the platform.

OTP Authentication: An OTP will be sent to the registered mobile number with an Aadhaar card. If the OTP authentication is successful, demographic details of the individual as per the Aadhaar will auto-populate.

Demographic Authentication: An individual can also enter all demographic details manually i.e. Name, DoB, gender and select Demo Authentication. A green tick will appear confirming the same.

An individual interested to register will be required to provide photo identity from one of the following:

· Aadhaar Card;

· Driving License;

· Health Insurance Smart Card issued under the scheme of Ministry of Labour;

· MNREGA Job Card;

· Official identity cards issued to MPs/MLAs/MLCs;

· PAN Card;

· Passbook issued by Bank/Post Office;

· Passport;

· Pension Document;

· Service Identity Card issued to employees by Central/State Govt./PSUs/ Public Limited Companies;

· Smart Card issued by RGI under NPR;

· Voter ID

Photo identity can either be uploaded on Co-WIN system (in PDF, JPG or PNG file formats) or can be pulled from the existing Digi Locker account of the individual

Once registered, date and time will be allocated for vaccination. There will be no spot registration facility and only pre-registered beneficiaries will be allowed to proceed with vaccination.

District Collector (DC)/District Magistrate (DM) with support of District Immunization Officer will link the sessions sites, vaccinators, supervisors and beneficiaries and decide the dates and time for conducting the vaccination session. Respective district administration will approve the beneficiaries for session and site allocation. Co-WIN has inbuilt monitoring and reporting mechanism.

How the sessions have been planned

An ideal session site should have three demarcated rooms/areas:

1. Waiting Room/Area;

2. Vaccination Room; and

3. Observation Room

How the Vaccination Team has been arranged

Every session will be managed by a 5 membered team with defined responsibilities:

Vaccination Officer-1: In-charge for pre-checking registration status of beneficiary and photo ID verification before entering the waiting room/area. Vaccination Officer-1 will be assisting in making queues/ crowd management

Vaccination Officer 2: In-charge of authenticating/ verify document in the Co-WIN system (Health / ICDS / other government departments e.g. election model)

Vaccinator Officer: In-charge of vaccinating the beneficiaries (Doctors (MBBS / BDS/AYUSH), Staff Nurse, Pharmacist, ANM, LHV).

Vaccination Officer 3 and 4: In-charge of crowd management, ensuring 30-minute wait, monitoring for any AEFI symptoms, guiding non-registered beneficiaries

Vaccination conducted at the health facilities – both government and private – where either a medical officer or a doctor is available is defined as a fixed session site. Schools and community halls will be outreach session sites while there will be special mobile teams for remote areas or migratory population and international border areas.

All COVID-19 vaccination sessions will be conducted from 9 am to 5 pm.

The Health Ministry has released a long list of frequently asked questions or FAQs on the rollout of the vaccine against COVID-19 infection. India is looking to start vaccinating people from January, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has said. Here are the FAQs:

Target Group: General Public

Q. Is COVID -19 vaccine scheduled anytime soon?

A. Yes, vaccine trials are under different stages of finalization. Government of India is geared to launch a vaccine for COVID-19 soon. For more information and updates visit mohfw.gov.in

Q. Will COVID-19 vaccine be given to everyone simultaneously?

A. Based on the potential availability of vaccines the Government of India has selected the priority groups who will be vaccinated on priority as they are at higher risk. The first group includes healthcare and frontline workers. The second group to receive COVID-19 vaccine will be persons over 50 years of age and persons under 50 years with comorbid conditions.

Q. Is it mandatory to take the vaccine?

A. Vaccination for COVID-19 is voluntary. However, it is advisable to receive the complete schedule of COVID-19 vaccine for protecting oneself against this disease and also to limit the spread of this disease to the close contacts including family members, friends, relatives and co-workers.

Q. Will the vaccine be safe as it is being tested and introduced in a short span of time?

A. Vaccines will be introduced in the country only after the regulatory bodies clear it based on its safety and efficacy.

Q. Can a person presently having COVID-19 (confirmed or suspected) infection be vaccinated?

A. Person with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection may increase the risk of spreading the same to others at vaccination site. For this reason, infected individuals should defer vaccination for 14 days after symptoms resolution.

Q. Is it necessary for a COVID-19 recovered person to take the vaccine?

A. Yes, it is advisable to receive complete schedule of COVID vaccine irrespective of past history of infection with COVID-19. This will help in developing a strong immune response against the disease.

Q. Out of the multiple vaccines available, how is one or more vaccine chosen for administration?

A. The safety and efficacy data from clinical trials of vaccine candidates are examined by Drug regulator of our country before granting the license for the same. Hence, all the COVID-19 vaccines that receive license will have comparable safety and efficacy. However, it must be ensured that the entire schedule of vaccination is completed by only one type of vaccine as different COVID-19 vaccines are not interchangeable.

Q. Does India have the capacity to store the COVID vaccine at temperature of +2 to +8 degree Celsius and transport them at required temperature?

A. India runs one of the largest Immunization programmes in the world, catering to the vaccination needs of more than 26 million new-borns and 29 million pregnant women. The programme mechanisms are being strengthened/geared up to effectively cater to the country’s large and diverse population.

Q. Will the vaccine introduced in India be as effective as the ones introduced in other countries?

A. Yes. The COVID 19 vaccine introduced in India will be as effective as any vaccine developed by other countries. Various phases of vaccine trials are undertaken to ensure its safety and efficacy.

Q. How will I know if I am eligible for vaccination?

A. In the initial phase, COVID 19 vaccine will be provided to the priority group – Healthcare and frontline workers. The 50-plus age group may also begin early based on vaccine availability. The eligible beneficiaries will be informed through their registered mobile number regarding the health facility where the vaccination will be provided and the scheduled time for the same. This will be done to avoid any inconvenience in registration and vaccination of beneficiaries.

Q. Can a person get the COVID-19 vaccine without registration with Health Department?

A. No, registration of beneficiary is mandatory for vaccination for COVID 19. Only after registration the information on the session site to visit and time will be shared with the beneficiary.

Q. What documents are required for registration of eligible beneficiary?

A. Any of the IDs with photo may be produced at the time of registration: Driving licence, health insurance smart card issued under the scheme of Ministry of Labour, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) Job Card, Official identity cards issued to MPs/MLAs/MLCs, PAN Card, Passbooks issued by Bank/Post Office, Passport, Pension Document Service Identity Card issued to employees by Central/ State Govt./ Public Limited Companies, Voter ID.

Q. Will a Photo ID be required at the time of registration?

A. The Photo ID produced at the time of registration must be produced and verified at the time of vaccination.

Q. If a person is not able to produce Photo ID at the session site, whether he or she be vaccinated or not?

A. Photo ID is a must for both registration and verification of beneficiary at session site to ensure that the intended person is vaccinated.

Q. How will the beneficiary receive information about due date of vaccination?

A. Following online registration, beneficiary will receive SMS on their registered mobile number on the due date, place and time of vaccination.

Q. Will vaccinated beneficiaries receive information on the status of their vaccination after completion?

A. Yes. On getting due dose of COVID 19 vaccine, the beneficiary will receive SMS on their registered mobile number. After all doses of vaccine are administered, a QR code based certificate will also be sent to the registered mobile number of the beneficiary.

Q. If one is taking medicines for illnesses like cancer, diabetes, hypertension etc, can he or she take the COVID-19 vaccine?

A. Yes. Persons with one or more of these comorbid conditions are considered high risk category. They need to get COVID -19 vaccination.

Q. Are there any preventive measures and precautions that one needs to follow at the session site?

A. We request you to rest at the vaccination centre for at least half an hour after taking the COVID-19 vaccine. Inform the nearest health authorities in case you feel any discomfort or uneasiness subsequently. Remember to continue following key COVID appropriate behaviours like wearing of mask, maintaining hand sanitization and physical distance (or 6 feet or do gaj).

Q. What about the possible side-effects from COVID-19 vaccine?

A. COVID vaccine will be introduced only when the safety is proven. As is true for other vaccines, the common side effects in some individuals could be mild fever, pain, etc. at the site of injection. States have been asked to start making arrangements to deal with any COVID-19 vaccine related side-effects as one of the measures towards safe vaccine delivery among masses.

Q. How many doses of the vaccine would have to be taken by me and at what interval?

A. Two doses of vaccine, 28 days apart, need to be taken by an individual to complete the vaccination schedule.

Q. When would antibodies develop? After taking first dose, after taking second dose, or much later?

A. Protective levels of antibodies are generally developed two weeks after receiving the 2nd dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Target Group: Healthcare Providers/Frontline Workers

Q. Why am I being chosen for COVID 19 vaccine?

A. Government of India has prioritised the most at risk/high risk groups which will get the vaccine first. Healthcare providers have led the battle against COVID-19 from the front. The government wants you to be able to continue your work, without the fear of risk associated with the virus. Therefore, healthcare and frontline workers are among the first group of people to be vaccinated in the country.

Q. What are the groups to be vaccinated in the first phase?

A. Based on the potential availability of vaccines the Government of India has selected the priority groups who will be vaccinated on priority as they are at higher risk. The first group includes healthcare workers because they are at high risk of contracting the infection and protecting them helps to sustain essential health services. The vaccination of frontline workers will help in reducing the societal and economic impact by reducing COVID-19 mortalities. The next group to receive COVID-19 vaccine will be persons over 50 years of age and persons under 50 years with comorbid conditions because there is high mortality in this category. The reason for including more than 50 years of age group for vaccination is that it will be able to cover 78 per cent of persons having co-morbidities and thereby reduce mortality on account of COVID-19. More than 50 years of age group is divided into two sub groups. One sub group is 60 years and above, they will be vaccinated first. Second sub-group is between 50 to 60 years age group, they will be vaccinated after the first sub group is covered. The vaccination may not be sequential. It can go in parallel for all beneficiaries depending on the availability of the vaccine.

Q. Will my family members also be given the vaccine?

A. Due to the limited vaccine supply in the initial phase, it will first be provided to people who are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. In subsequent phases the COVID 19 vaccine will be made available to all others in need of the same.

Q. Is this vaccine safe?

A. Yes. Safety and efficacy of vaccine will be ensured through various phases of vaccine trials and only then a vaccine will be introduced.

Q. Does one need to follow preventive measures such as wearing a mask, hand sanitization, social distancing after receiving the COVID 19 vaccine?

A. Even after receiving the COVID 19 vaccine, we must continue taking all precautions like use of face cover or masks, hand sanitization, and maintain distancing (6 feet or do gaj). These behaviors must be followed both at the session site and in general.

Watch: AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria answers your questions on Covid-19 vaccination

Here are some of the frequents asked questions (FAQs) on Covid-19 vaccination: 

How will I know if I am eligible for vaccination? 

In the initial phase, Covid-19 vaccine will be provided to priority group that includes healthcare and frontline workers. Citizens above 50 years of age may also be preferred depending upon the availability of vaccine. The eligible beneficiaries of Covid-19 vaccination will be informed via their registered mobile numbers regarding the location of the health facility and the scheduled time in which vaccine will be registered.

Is it possible to get vaccinated for Covid-19 without registering with the health department? 

No. Registration for the Covid-19 vaccination with the health department is mandatory. It is only after the registration that the details of the locations and time schedule of the vaccination centre will be shared with the beneficiary.

What documents are needed for registration of an eligible beneficiary?

Government identification cards, namely, driving licence, Health Insurance smart card issued by the Ministry of Labour, MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) job card, official ID cards issued by MPs, members of state legislature, Permanent Account Number (PAN) card, passbooks issued by the banks or post offices, pension documents, service identity cards issued by employers,  voter ID cards can be used at the time of registration for Covid-19 vaccination.Coronavirus Explained

Click here for more

What precautions or preventive measures to follow at the Covid-19 vaccination site? 

It is advised that the person who is vaccinated should take rest for 30 minutes after the administration of vaccine. If any symptom/unease develops, the nearby health workers should be informed immediately.

How many doses will be given and at what interval?

Two doses of the vaccine will have to be taken 28 days apart and protective levels of antibodies generally would develop two weeks after the second dose. After all doses of the vaccine are administered, a QR-code based certificate will also be sent to the mobile number of the beneficiary. If you feel any symptoms, any discomfort, please contact the nearest authorities like ANM, ASHA workers so that they can attend to the problem.

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