The government intends to vaccinate around 3 crore individuals in the Phase 1 of the coronavirus vaccination programme. (PTI file photo)
India has finally set a date with the coronavirus vaccination drive – January 16, 2021. After several training sessions and two pan-India mock drills, the Narendra Modi government on Saturday announced the date of the drive, which is seen as the biggest coronavirus vaccination programme around the globe. The decision was taken after a crucial meeting that was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. During the high-level meeting, the Prime Minister discussed the modalities of the mega vaccination programme with various state officials.
In the first phase, which will be launched on January 16, priority will be given to frontline workers from various sectors such as health, education and police. The government intends to vaccinate around 3 crore individuals in Phase 1 of the coronavirus vaccination programme. The second phase will see those with co-morbidities getting the Covid shot. Citizens above 50 years of age will get priority, the government said in a statement.
Earlier in the day, PM Modi had said that two ‘Made in India’ vaccines will save the world. While the emergency authorisation of coronavirus vaccines saw some controversy over the inclusion of Biotech’s Covaxin, the government officials have tried to assure the masses about the safety and the efficacy of the corona shots.
According to the latest bulletin released by the Health Ministry, over 1 crore Indians have been diagnosed with Covid-19 viral infection. Over 1.5 lakh individuals have lost their lives due to corona complications. In a tropical country like India, the transportation of the vaccine will be a major challenge. In order to avoid any last-minute hassle, the Centre had issued detailed guidelines on what precautions need to be taken by those handling the vaccines. The key aspect of the guideline was the strict adherence of the temperature protocol while transporting the vaccine. The second part of the vaccination drive will be the participation of people. A larger number of people getting vaccinated may help India achieving herd immunity. According to the official statement released on Saturday, there are 79 lakh citizens, who have already been registered via the Co-WIN app.
As part of the drive, two vaccines- Covishield and Covaxin – will be given to people. Developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, the Covishield vaccine is being produced by Pune-based Serum Institute of India. The second vaccine named ‘Covaxin’ is developed, researched and manufactured by Bharat Biotech. The indigenous vaccine’s emergency authorisation had resulted in heated debate over the hurried nod by the Modi government.