'Free Covid vaccine shall be provided across the nation to most prioritised beneficiaries that include 1 crore healthcare and 2 crore frontline workers,' the health minister said
He also said that details of how further 27 crore priority beneficiaries are to be vaccinated until July are being finalised
Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Saturday said that free coronavirus vaccines will be provided to 3 crore frontline workers in the first base of the mega vaccination drive in India.
"In first phase of COVID-19 Vaccination, free vaccine shall be provided across the nation to most prioritised beneficiaries that include 1 crore healthcare and 2 crore frontline workers," Vardhan wrote on Twitter.
He also said that details of how further 27 crore priority beneficiaries are to be vaccinated until July are being finalised.
As India began its nationwide Covid-19 vaccine dry run from today before the roll out of a potential vaccine to the citizens, the health minister appealed to people not to pay heed to rumours about COVID-19 vaccine.
After reviewing the dry run of administering the COVID-19 vaccine at Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB) hospital in Delhi, Vardhan spoke to the media.
"I appeal to people not to pay heed to rumours. Ensuring safety and efficacy of vaccine is our priority. Different kinds of rumours were spread during polio immunisation but people took the vaccine and India is now polio-free," he said.
In Delhi, the drive is being conducted at three locations - the Daryaganj primary health centre, the government-run Guru Teg Bahadur hospital, and the private Venkateshwara hospital, he added.
Except for giving an actual vaccine, every procedure is being followed during the drill, Vardhan said.
In Bengaluru COVID-19 vaccination dry run took place at Primary Health Center in Kamakshipalya. More than 1,65,000 healthcare workers have been identified. "This dry run will help us plan vaccination process," said Special Commissioner, Health, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra's Pune district also went for vaccination dry run. The dry run will be conducted by all the States and Union Territories governments from Saturday. Vaccination drill is being conducted in all States/UTs today in 116 districts across 259 sites.
Feedbacks received after the earlier dry run in four states were included in guidelines for vaccination and today's dry run in all states/UTs is being conducted as per new guidelines, said Health Minister.
According to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW), the objective of the dry run for COVID-19 vaccine introduction is to "assess operational feasibility in the use of COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network (Co-WIN) application in a field environment, to test the linkages between planning and implementation and to identify the challenges and guide the way forward prior to actual implementation".
Meanwhile, the expert panel on Friday recommended granting emergency use authorization to Serum Institute of India’s (SII’s) Covishield, according to Mint report, while the government prepared to roll out the shots as early as next week.
The independent subject expert committee (SEC) gave its recommendations to Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) V.G. Somani for emergency licence for Covishield subject to certain conditions, the persons said, requesting anonymity. A formal clearance from the DCGI is likely to follow soon.