India begins vaccination on Jan 16

Gautam Lahiri

10 January, 2021 12:00 AM printer

NEW DELHI: India is set to begin a countrywide Covid-19 vaccination drive on January 16 in a bid to prevent the countrymen from being infected with the deadly virus.

The government came up with an announcement on Saturday evening after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a high-level meeting to review the pandemic situation in India.

Priority will be given to healthcare workers and front-line workers estimated to be around 3 crore in number, the government said, adding that they would be followed by 27 crore people, including ones above 50 years and under 50 with co-morbidities.

Earlier, the government approved two vaccines for emergency use in India - Bharat Biotech's Covaxin

and Covishield developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University and being manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute of India.

With PM Modi in the chair, the meeting was attended by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, PM’s Principal Secretary Pramod Kumar Mishra, Health Secretary Dr Dharmendra Singh Gangwar and other officials.

Narendra Modi took a detailed and comprehensive review of status of Covid management covering various issues. Emergency use authorisation has been granted by the National regulator for Covaxin and Covishield which have estabilished safety and immunogenicity as said by the Indian government in a press release.

The government also announced that vaccination exercise underpinned by the people's participation (jan bhagidari) utilising experience of election (booth strategy) and Universal Immunisation programme undertaken earlier for polio vaccine.

It claims that no compromise on scientific and regulatory norms will be allowed. The rollout of Covid -19 vaccines will provide priority for healthcare workers and front-line workers who are estimated to be around 3 crores followed by two aged groups.

For the countrywide rollout, the government has created a unique digital platform to provide real-time information on vaccine stocks, their storage temperature and individualised tracking of beneficiaries of the Covid-19 vaccine.

This platform will assist the programme managers of all levels through automated session allocation for pre-registered beneficiaries, their verification and for generating a digital certificate upon successful completion of the vaccine schedule. More than 79 lacks of beneficiaries have already been registered on the platform.

India has already arranged a training process which was detailed out 2,360 participants during the national level of training which comprises of state immunisation officers, cold chain officers.

More than 61,000 programme managers,2 lacks vaccinators and 3.7 lack other vaccination team members have been trained so far as part of state, districts and block levels. India already organised three phases of dry runs having been conducted across the country.

The third dry run was conducted on Friday across 615 districts covering 4,895 session sites in 33 states and union territories.