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Priority group changed to 60-plus; government to define on eligibility for free shots

The next phase of vaccination against Covid-19 will have two groups: those who will get the vaccine for free, and those who will have to pay. Meanwhile the next phase is said to have about 27 crore beneficiaries of ages 50 years and older.

The inoculation will begin early next month. Those above the age of 60 will be the priority group. The government has also decided that in the second phase of vaccination drive, beneficiaries are left with the choice to get their shots in a state different from the one to which they belong (according to the electoral roll).

“There will be two pre-defined groups (in the next phase of the exercise). The government will define which group will get the doses (of vaccine) for free. Beneficiaries will know whether they are eligible for free vaccination while registering,” officials said.

As per the government sources, the final details on who will get the vaccine for free and who will have to bear the expenses on their own will be shared soon. In the first phase that began on January 16, the Centre picked up the whole tab for inoculating the priority groups of healthcare and frontline workers.

Officials said that the next phase of vaccination will begin in the first week of March. “The priority group will be 50 years and above; within that group, there will be a priority of 60 years and above. They will register first,” they said. To check if the person really belongs to the priority group, data from the electoral roll and Aadhaar will be used by the team.

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