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India will start distributing second dose of coronavirus vaccine to beneficiaries from 13 February, the ministry of family and welfare said. The nationwide COVID-19 vaccine drive started on 16 January. The healthcare workers and frontline workers were the first group to receive the much-awaited COVID-19 vaccine.

India has granted emergency use authorisation to two COVID-19 vaccines — Pune-based Serum Institute of India’s Covishield and Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International Ltd’s Covaxin which are being used in the government’s vaccination drive.

Over fifty lakh people have received the first dose of coronavirus vaccine in the country. Parsing the efforts of the states, Rajesh Bhushan, the union health secretary urged the authorities "to exponentially increase the pace of vaccination."

"The State Health Secretaries were asked to analyze the daily variation in the number of average vaccinations and take necessary steps to increase them. States/UTs were advised to ensure 100% saturation of people who have already been registered on CoWin digital platform," according to the statement by ministry of family and welfare.

The states were also asked to organise simultaneous vaccination sessions or day in the health facility wherever possible. Each state or union territory was advised to devise a state specific strategy to achieve this target.

At least 12 states and union territories reported 60% or more vaccination coverage of healthcare workers. "They were all advised to improve the percentage coverage of vaccinated beneficiaries as there are many states and UTs that need to improve their performance on this parameter," the ministry said.

"States/ UTs were advised to ensure regular review meetings of the State, District and Block Task Force to assess the emerging challenges, understand the ground issues and promptly address them at the appropriate levels," the statement read.

"Every State/UT must schedule all healthcare workers for vaccination at least once before 20th Feb 2021 and immediately thereafter organize mop-up rounds for them. Similarly, all frontline workers must be scheduled for vaccination at least once before 6th March 2021 and immediately thereafter organize mop-up rounds for them," it added.

"Elaborating on the global landmarks crossed by India, he underlined that India is the fastest country to reach the 5 million mark in COVID-19 vaccination in just 21 days," the official statement mentioned.

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