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Amid demands of opening Covid-19 vaccination of all age groups, the union health ministry on has stated that it will not be opened to all ages as of now. The aim of the vaccination drive is to administer the vaccine to those who need it and not to those who want it.

"Many people ask why we shouldn't open vaccination for all. There are two aims of such vaccination drives -- to prevent deaths and protect the healthcare system. The aim is not to administer the vaccine to those who want it but to those who need it," said Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan while addressing a press conference on the current Covid-19 situation in the country.

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This statement from the government came after Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and IMA had sought wider vaccination drive.

Bhushan said even Western countries have conducted the vaccination drive in phases.

"We need to understand that we are carrying out adult vaccination and sudden ramping up cannot be done. The ramping up has to be done in a scientific manner which says that when you are being inoculated then one has to sit for 30 minutes to observe if any adverse event takes place. So keeping that in mind with scientific rigour, we have administered about 8 crore doses in less than 80 days in our country," he said.

NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul said, "What we know so far is that all vaccines that are being used, including the two being used in India, reduce mortality, severity of the disease, protect lives and keeping that in mind priority groups have been decided."

India had started Covid-19 vaccination drive on 16 January with two vaccines - Covishield (Oxford-AstraZeneca's vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India) and Covaxin (manufactured by Bharat Biotech Limited).

India commenced its second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive to inoculate people above 60 years and those over 45 with comorbidities against the coronavirus from March 1.

The third phase began on April 1 for all above 45 years of age.

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