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India to kick off covid-19 vaccination drive from January 16

On Saturday, the PM chaired a high-level meeting to review the status of covid management in the country along with the preparedness of the State/UTs for the vaccine rollout.  (PTI)Premium
On Saturday, the PM chaired a high-level meeting to review the status of covid management in the country along with the preparedness of the State/UTs for the vaccine rollout. (PTI)

  • An estimated 30 million healthcare and frontline workers will be administered the vaccine, followed by those above 50 years of age and the under-50 population groups with co-morbidities, the government said.

The much-awaited covid-19 vaccination drive will start from January 16, the central government said on Saturday. In order of priority, an estimated 3 crores healthcare and frontline workers will be administered the covid-19 vaccines, followed by those above 50 years of age and the under-50 population groups with co-morbidities numbering around 27 crores, the government said.

The decision came post a detailed review meeting convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, wherein it was decided that in view of the forthcoming festivals including Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Pongal, Magh Bihu, etc., the covid-19 vaccination can be started from 16th January 2021.

The Subject Expert Committee of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) earlier this month granted permission for restricted emergency use of Pune-based Serum Institute of India’s vaccine (Covishield), subject to multiple regulatory conditionalities and permission of restricted use in emergency situation in public interest as an abundant precaution, in clinical trial mode, especially in the context of infection by mutant strain, to Bharat Biotech International Ltd., Hyderabad for its vaccine Covaxin. Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare this week had also indicated that the covid-19 vaccine would be rolled out within 10 days of receiving the emergency use authorization.

The Prime Minister chaired a high-level meeting to review the status of covid-19 in the country along with the preparedness of the State/UTs for COVID vaccination on Saturday. The Prime Minister took a detailed and comprehensive review of status of covid management covering various issues. Emergency use authorisation (EUA) or accelerated approval has been granted by the National Regulator for two vaccines (Covishield and Covaxin) which have established safety and immunogenicity, the government said.

The prime minister was also briefed about the preparedness status of the Centre in close collaboration with the State and UT governments for the rollout of the vaccine in the near future.

“The vaccination exercise is underpinned by the principles of people’s participation (Jan Bhagidari); utilizing the experience of elections (booth strategy) and Universal Immunization Program (UIP); no compromise of existing healthcare services, especially national programs and primary health care; no compromise on scientific and regulatory norms, other standard operating procedures (SOPs); and an orderly and smooth implementation driven by technology," said the Union health ministry in a statement.

The Prime Minister was also apprised about the digital Co-WIN Vaccine Delivery Management System. 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 programme 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.

As the vaccinators and vaccine administrators comprise a crucial pillar of the vaccination exercise, their training process was detailed out—2,360 participants were trained during national level training of trainers, which comprised state immunization officers, cold chain officers, IEC officials, development partners etc, according to the government. More than 61,000 programme managers, 2 lakh vaccinators and 3.7 lakh other vaccination team members have been trained so far at states, districts, and block levels.

The Prime Minister was also apprised of the three phases of dry runs that have been conducted across the country. The third dry run was conducted yesterday across 615 districts covering 4895 session sites in 33 States/UTs.


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