India likely to begin COVID-19 vaccination in January; 30 crore people to be vaccinated in first phase

The COVID-19 vaccination programme will begin with an estimated one crore healthcare workers, two crore frontline workers and 27 crore prioritise age groups.

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India is likely to begin COVID-19 vaccination programme from January 2021 and the country has set a target to vaccinate 30 crore people during the first phase of the vaccination programme.

Covishield vaccine of Serum Institute of India and Covaxin of Bharat Biotech and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine have applied for authorisation, according to reports.

On December 8, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan had said about 30 COVID-19 vaccines were in different stages of development and two of them were in the most advanced stages of development.

Today, ZY-Cov-D (DNA platform) by Cadila Healthcare (Zydus Cadila); Russian vaccine Sputnik V (human adenovirus) by Gamaleya National Centre, Russia and Dr Reddy’s La, India; NVX-COV-2373 (protein subunit platform) by Serum Institute of India and Novavax; Recombinant protein antigen-based vaccine by Biological E Ltd, Hyderabad and MIT USA; HGCO 19 by Genova, Pune and Thomas Jefferson University, USA; Inactivated rabies vector platform (repurposed vaccine) by Bharat Biotech and Thomas Jefferson University, USA are in clinical trial stages.

The COVID-19 vaccination programme will begin with an estimated one crore healthcare workers, two crore frontline workers and 27 crore prioritise age groups persons above 50 years of age and persons younger than 50 years of age with underlying and co-morbidities based on evolving pandemic situation, the reports said.

The priority group of above 50 years may be further subdivided into those above 60 years of age and those between 50 to 60 years of age for purposes of the phasing of roll out based on pandemic situation and vaccine availability.

Identification of persons of  50 years and above will be done on the basis of the latest electoral roll for Lok Sabha and Legislative Assembly elections.

Vaccine distribution will be led by states with the help of the state steering committee under the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC).

Of the total  2.39 lakh vaccinators in India under the UIP, NEGVAC plans to deploy 1.54 lakh auxiliary nurse midwives (ANMs) for COVID-19 vaccination.

According to the reports, around 29,000 existing cold chain points would be used to stock the vaccines. The present cold chain system has 85,634 equipment at about 28,947 cold storage facilities in India.

Only pre-registered beneficiaries will be vaccinated in accordance with the prioritisation. COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network (Co-WIN) system, a digitalised platform for COVID-19 vaccination has been set up. One can register for COVID-19 vaccination on the Co-WIN app.

The Co-Win will be used to track the beneficiary, vaccination session planning and management. One can also register by self at common service centres at the block level.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra which has the highest COVID-19 confirmed caseload in the country is gearing up to administer Covid-19 vaccinate to “at least 3 crore people from January”, if the Central government issues the approval for the vaccine, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Thursday.

The total number of Maharashtra's COVID-19 confirmed case has reached 18,86,807, including 64,053 active cases, 17,74,255 recovered cases and 48,499 deaths. 

First Published:Dec. 18, 2020, 3:05 p.m.

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