The Union government on Saturday asked the states and the Union Territories to stop the registration of healthcare, medical and frontline workers for COVID-19 vaccination, said the Health Ministry. The Centre took such a step in the wake of vaccination drive coverage to expand and include more categories of people.

According to the Centre, frontline, medical and healthcare workers, who were the first priority for vaccinations, already have got enough time to get immunised against coronavirus. 

The Health Ministry also added that under the category of frontline, medical and healthcare workers, the Centre found that some ineligible beneficiaries were adding names, and getting vaccinated, a move which violates the guidelines. 

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Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, in a letter, said registration of persons aged 45 years and above will continue to be permitted on the Co-WIN website. In the letter, Bhushan asked the states and Union Territories to ensure universal vaccination of already registered healthcare workers (HCWs) and frontline workers (FLWs) at the earliest.

India kicked off its vaccination drive, the world's largest, on January 16 with healthcare workers getting inoculated, and frontline workers getting the jab from February 2, in the second phase. 

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The third phase of COVID-19 vaccination started from March 1 for those over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions.

Bhushan said all efforts have been made in close collaboration with states and UTs to saturate vaccination of HCWs and FLWs.

The cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 7.44 crore, the Union health ministry said on Saturday.