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Home / News / India /  With COVID-19 vaccination set to begin 16 Jan, PM Modi says it's 'a landmark step'

India is all set to start one of the world's largest COVID-19 vaccination drives from next week. "On 16th January, India takes a landmark step forward in fighting #COVID19. Starting that day, India’s nation-wide vaccination drive begins" Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on social media platform Twitter.

Nearly 3 crore healthcare and frontline workers will be receiving the vaccine from next week. "Priority will be given to our brave doctors, healthcare workers, frontline workers including Safai Karamcharis," Then, those above 50 years of age will receive the dose followed by people younger than 50 years of age with associated comorbidities. The total number is estimated at 27 crore.

India has recently granted emergency authorisation to two coronavirus vaccines — Covishield by Serum Institute of India and Covaxin by Bharat Biotech. Covishield is a a 'virus-vectored' vaccine that uses a weakened version of a chimpanzee common coldvirus that encodes instructions for making proteins from the novel coronavirus to generate an immune response and prevent infection. Researchers claim the vaccine protected against disease in 62% of those given two full doses and in 90% of those initially given a half dose.

Covaxin has been derived from a strain of the novel coronavirus isolated by the National Institute of Virology in Pune. Bharat Biotech developed an “inactivated" vaccine at its high-containment facility at Genome Valley in Hyderabad. “Once the vaccine is injected into a human, it has no potential to infect or replicate, since it is a killed virus. It just serves to the immune system as a dead virus and mounts an antibody response towards the virus," Bharat Biotech earlier said.

The COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network (Co-WIN) system — a digitalised platform — will be used to track enlisted beneficiaries for the vaccination and anti-coronavirus vaccines on a real-time basis. The unique digital platform will provide real time information of vaccine stocks, their storage temperature and individualized tracking of beneficiaries of the COVID-19 vaccine. This platform will assist the program managers across 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 lakh beneficiaries have been already registered on the platform.

For the mega inoculation drive, over 2,360 participants were trained during national level Training of Trainers which comprised state immunization officers, cold chain officers, IEC officials, development partners etc. More than 61,000 programme managers, 2 lakh vaccinators and 3.7 lakh other vaccination team members have been trained so far as part of trainings at states, districts and block levels.

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