Digital health ID not mandatory for accessing Covid vaccine: Health ministry

1 month ago 23
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NEW DELHI: A digital health identity will not be mandatory for vaccination against COVID-19 and multiple other identity proofs can be used by a person to receive the shots though the government plans to utilize digital health IDs as well for the process once the vaccine is available, the health ministry clarified on Tuesday.
“The National Digital Health Mission as it exists today does not make digital IS or health ID mandatory to receive service under the digital ecosystem that NDHM has created. Therefore, to say that it would become mandatory for vaccination and those who do not have health IDs will be deprived is probably not the right interpretation,” health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said.
“Health IDs would be utilized. In those cases where the individual recipient or beneficiary does not have a health ID, there are multiple other IDs that can be utilized as is the case in the present NDHM,” Bhushan added.
He underlined the process would be almost like an “electoral scenario” where multiple IDs are prescribed beforehand so that no one is deprived of the benefits of either voting on the day of the election or vaccination on the designated day.
The National Digital Health Mission is still in nascent stages and pilots were rolled out in some Union Territories on 15 August.
On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said digital health IDs will be used to systematically carry out the vaccination process against COVID-19.
As various vaccine candidates against coronavirus infection progress to advance stage of human trials across the world, the government has started planning and preparation for its manufacturing, procurement, distribution and delivery.
Bhushan said the National Expert Committee on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 has come up with a “draft prioritization plan”. “In the deliberation of National expert committee on vaccine administration, we have come up with a draft prioritization plan. We have also tried to match the numbers that come from this draft prioritization plan to the number of doses that would become available from tentatively January to July and we think if the present trials proceed according to plans and succeed then the number of doses that would become available from Jan to July would be sufficient to immunize the priority list persons that we are working on,” Bhushan said.
TOI reported on Saturday the proposed plan aims to vaccinate around 30 crore people in the initial phase once the COVID-19 vaccine is approved for use. This will include 50-70 lakh healthcare professionals, 45 lakh cops, 1.5 crore front line teams and 15 lakh armed forces. Besides, about 26 people above 50 years of age and those less than 50 years but with co-morbidities are also part of plan and likely to get shots in the first phase itself.
Bhushan said 28,000 cold storages are already there across the country as part of the regular immunization programme. While these storages are digitally connected and equipped with real time tracker, discussions are going on on how the infrastructure can be further augmented.

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