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Medics during the preparations to conduct the dry run of COVID-19 vaccine, at a vaccination unit in Mumbai, Jan. 07, 2021. (PTI)
Medics during the preparations to conduct the dry run of COVID-19 vaccine, at a vaccination unit in Mumbai, Jan. 07, 2021. (PTI)

Centre to foot bill in phase 1 of vaccination

  • Modi said states will not have to bear any cost in the immunization of the priority group

The central government will bear the entire cost of administering covid-19 vaccines to the priority group of 30 million healthcare and frontline workers in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

At a video-conference with chief ministers and administrators of all states and Union territories on Monday to review the status and preparedness of the vaccination drive starting 16 January, Modi said states will not have to bear any cost in the immunization of this priority group.

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“The priority of vaccination has been decided as per the advice of experts and the scientific community after consultation with the states," Modi said, adding that health workers from both the government and the private sector will be the first to receive the vaccine.

This group also includes sanitation workers, police and paramilitary staff, home guards, disaster management volunteers, jawans in civil defence and revenue officials associated with containment and surveillance.

The Prime Minister said India aims to vaccinate 300 million people over the next few months and the country is now in a “decisive phase".

“It’s a matter of pride that both the vaccines for which emergency use authorization has been given are made in India. Both the approved vaccines are highly cost-effective in comparison to other vaccines from across the world," Modi said, adding that India would have faced great difficulty if it had to depend on foreign vaccines.

In the second stage, those above 50 years of age, and those below 50 with co-morbidities or at high risk of infection, will be vaccinated.

Preparation for infrastructure and logistics have been completed in all states and Union territories the Prime Minister said, adding that vaccination dry-runs have also been done across the country.

“Our new preparations and standard operating procedures for covid have to be linked up with our old experiences of running universal immunization programmes and conducting elections throughout the country. The booth-level strategy used for elections needs to be used here as well," Modi said.

The Prime Minister pointed out that the critical factor is identification and monitoring of those who need to be vaccinated.

“For this, the Co-Win digital platform has been created. With the help of Aadhaar, beneficiaries will be identified as well as timely second dosage will be ensured," Modi said.

He underlined the significance of ensuring that real-time data related to vaccination gets uploaded on Co-Win.

“After a person receives the first dose of vaccination, Co-Win will immediately generate a digital vaccination certificate. This certificate will also act as a reminder for the second dose, after which a final certificate will be given," he said.

The Prime Minister said covid-19 vaccination has started in about 50 countries in the past 3-4 weeks, and till now, only about 25 million people have been vaccinated.

Proper mechanisms have been put in place in case a person feels discomfort due to the vaccine, Modi said, adding that such a mechanism is already in place for the universal immunization programme, and it has been further strengthened for the covid-19 vaccination drive.

The Prime Minister underlined the significance of following covid-related protocols and said that even those who receive the vaccine should continue to follow these precautions to prevent any spread of the virus.

He said all states and Union territories will have to put in place mechanisms to keep rumours related to vaccination in check.

For this, help from religious and social organizations, the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, the National Service Scheme, self-help groups and other such bodies should be taken, he added.

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