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Covid-19 update: Second inoculation dry run held; states to get vaccines soon

Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr. Harshvardhan inspects the dry run of Covid-19 vaccination program at Omandurar Multi Super Speciality Hospital in Chennai (ANI)Premium
Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr. Harshvardhan inspects the dry run of Covid-19 vaccination program at Omandurar Multi Super Speciality Hospital in Chennai (ANI)

  • The frontline workers and those at risk would be given priority for the administration of the vaccine, the union health minister said
  • DGCA on Friday issued guidelines to airlines and other aircraft operators for transportation of Covid-19 vaccines

The second nationwide Covid-19 vaccination drive was conducted on Friday in 736 districts across all states and union territories. Overseeing the exercise in Tamil Nadu, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said that the entire population of the country will be inoculated soon.

The health minister said that vaccines would be made available to all states in the next few days. The frontline workers and those at risk would be given priority for the administration of the vials.

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Varshan said that the Centre has started a new Covid platform to track particulars of potential vaccine beneficiaries and also issue electronic certificates to them.

India, he said, has done extremely well in developing vaccines in the shortest possible time.

"We are in the process of ensuring that in the next few days, also in the near future, we should be able to give these vaccines to our countrymen, starting with of course prioritising those who are most at risk, our health professionals, healthcare workers in the public and private sector followed by frontline workers," he added.

Vardhan also visited the Government Omandurar Hospital in Chennai and a few other centres.

He said the Integrated Vaccine Complex of HLL Biotech Limited (HBL), which has remained non-functional for six months, would soon be optimally utilised to produce Covid-19 vaccines.

"The government has spent over 600 crore to establish the state-of-the-art facility at Chengalpattu," he said.

HBL is a 100% subsidiary of HLL Lifecare Limited, a government of India Enterprise under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

On Thursday, Vardhan interacted with the health ministers and principal secretaries and additional chief secretaries of all states and union territories through video conference to review the preparedness for the mock drill. He

In Maharashtra, where the dry run was conducted in 32 of the 36 districts, Health Minister Rajesh Tope said there are still "some areas in the overall system where we need to improve efficiency in terms of data updating, delivery of SMS and training the local staff for inoculation".

Vaccine in Karnataka

Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar said the state is expected to receive 13,90,000 vials of Covid-19 vaccine in a day or two, and it is likely to be administered from 11 January.

"We have registered 6.30 lakh healthcare professionals in Karnataka till date. Those who are left out, may be in some medical or dental colleges, we have requested them to register," he told reporters after visiting a private hospital in Bengaluru where the dry run was conducted.

Transportation of vaccines:

India's civil aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), on Friday issued guidelines to airlines and other aircraft operators for transportation of Covid-19 vaccines.

"All scheduled operators who have been currently authorized to carry dangerous goods may carry Covid-19 vaccine packed in dry ice, meeting the regulatory requirements," DGCA said in a circular.

Indian airlines, including Air India, are currently working with vaccine manufacturers for distribution, a senior civil aviation ministry official had told Mint on Thursday adding that airlines would use their cargo facilities to distribute the vaccines. The official requested anonymity.

The flight crew should be properly trained on the hazards and risks of the vaccine's transportation.

ICMR appeal

The Indian Medical Association has appealed to all its members to actively participate in the Covid-19 vaccination drive across the country.

"As you all are aware of the Covid-19 vaccine being made available in the immediate future, it becomes our natural responsibility to assist the vaccination drive in a professional way," the doctors' body said in a statement.

"With the vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 at our doorsteps, it is worth remembering that indigenous vaccines have been developed after the tireless efforts of Indian scientists in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV)," it said.

PM's interaction with chief ministers

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will interact with chief ministers of all states on Monday to discuss the Covid-19 situation and the vaccination roll-out in the country, the PMO said.

Vaccine approval

The country's drug regulator had on 3 January approved restricted use of two Covid-19 vaccines — Covaxin, manufactured by Bharat Biotech, and Covishield, manufactured by Serum Institute of India.

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