"We request that all eligible should immediately register and get vaccinated", said Union Minister Prakash Javadekar about the Cabinet decision taken on Tuesday.
To a question on cases of COVID-19 rising in some states, he said, the central government is in touch with them and there will be effective management.
Three vaccines are now authorized in the United States: the two-dose regimens from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna and the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
"This decision has been taken by cabinet on the basis of the advice of the coronavirus Task Force and experts", said Mr Javadekar.
Mustapha said the PTF has taken delivery of 300,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines from MTN Nigeria, and that it is under going verification by the National Agency for Food Drugs and Administration Control (NAFDAC). Vaccines are available in adequate quantity. The Union Minister said he was "not a health expert and did not know the nuances of the United Kingdom variant".
The minister who was not physically present at the briefing noted that the government has ensured continuous interface with the case managers at various isolation and treatment centres.
The survey also revealed that among those healthcare workers who remain unvaccinated, 12 per cent said they were yet to decide if they would like to receive the vaccine jab. We will have to keep wearing masks for another year or year-and-a-half, maintain distance and wash hands.
With 81% of the latest 401 COVID-19 samples sent by the State for genome sequencing turning out positive for the United Kingdom variant, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday appealed to the people to get themselves vaccinated, even as he urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to widen the vaccination ambit to cover those under 60 since this mutant had been found to be infecting young people more.
Till date, only people above 60 years of age and those in the age group of 45-60 who have co-morbidities were eligible for vaccination.
Fischer also said that Sunday's unauthorised carnival in Marseille in southern France was "totally irresponsible" as it was bound to increase the number of COVID infections and of patients in hospitals.