With an expected surge in Covid cases during the upcoming Holi season, the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh is planning to vaccinate people in the age group of 18-45 years.
The proposal is being sent to the Centre for approval.
The state government will also seek a nod for lifting the mandatory comorbidity condition for those in their 50s, which means that those in this age group can walk in with their age proofs to get the Covid-19 vaccine.
State Health Minister Jai Pratap Singh said that the state’s strategy has worked well so far in containment of the pandemic which reflects in its high recovery and low mortality rate.
Singh, however, admitted that the state was ready to tweak the plan in public interest under the guidance from the Union Health Ministry.
As per the proposal, younger people in the 18-45 age group should be allowed to take the Covid-19 vaccine especially if they have any co-morbid condition like type-1 diabetes, medically diagnosed hypertension or cardiac condition.
Those with any kind of auto-immune diseases or on immuno-suppressant medication may also be allowed.
Discussions over inclusion of certain groups of professionals like teachers and banking staff is also being deliberated upon.
To achieve herd immunity, UP must vaccinate 30 per cent of its 22.79 crore population, which is approximately 6.8 crore.
So far, about 34 lakh people have been vaccinated in the state which is about 5 per cent of the target.
Vaccination, therefore, must be opened up for more age groups, said a health department official.
Besides, inclusion of those in the 18-45 age group is being considered to cut down the anticipated spread of the infection as this age group is more mobile than elders.
“These are the people who may be silent spreaders. Data shows that while a large majority of them were asymptomatic, they are carriers of the virus. Therefore, their inclusion is crucial to control the spread,” said a health department official.