Prime Minister Narendra Modi will virtually launch India’s vaccination drive against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) on Saturday as around 100 beneficiaries will be vaccinated at over 3,000 session sites across the country, the government has said. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has said that adequate doses of the two made-in-India shots have been delivered to all states and Union territories for the world’s largest vaccination programme.
“This vaccination programme is based on the principles of priority groups to be vaccinated and Health Care workers, both in government and private sectors including ICDS (Integrated Child Development Services) workers, will receive the vaccine during this phase,” the PMO said in a statement on Thursday.
The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) had approved the Oxford University-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, which has been manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) and marketed as Covishield, and indigenously-developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country earlier this month.
Here’s what you need to know about India’s vaccination drive:
1. Prime Minister Modi will launch the pan-India rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination drive at 10:30am through video conferencing, the PMO said.
2. There are 3,006 session sites across all states and UTs and they will be virtually connected during the launch. At least 60 hospitals across the country, including the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi, have been directed to prepare for video conferencing facility.
3. Reports said that PM Modi is likely to interact with some healthcare workers from across the country who will be receiving the Covid-19 shots on the first day. The Centre will bear the cost of vaccination of healthcare and frontline workers.
4. Vaccination of health care and frontline workers will be held at a wide range of public health care facilities, from hospitals to primary health centres in rural India and large private hospitals.
5. Healthcare will include doctors, nurses, technicians, lab workers, including ICDS workers. Frontline workers will be personnel from state and central police department, armed forces, home guard, prison staff, disaster management volunteers and civil defence organisation, municipal workers and revenue officials engaged in Covid-19 containment, surveillance and associated activities.
6. The Centre has said that the shots will be offered first to an estimated 10 million healthcare workers, and around 20 million frontline workers, and then to those above 50 years of age, followed by those younger than 50 years of age with comorbidities.
7. The full initial procurement of 16.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin, has been allocated to all states and UTs in proportion to their healthcare workers database, the Union ministry of health and family welfare has said.
8. States and UTs have been advised to utilise a maximum of 10 days in a fortnight for the Covid-19 vaccination, the Union health ministry said.
9. They have also have been advised by the Union health ministry to organise vaccination sessions taking into account 10% reserve/wastage doses and an average of 100 vaccinations per session per day.
10. Any undue haste on the parts of the states to organise unreasonable numbers of vaccination per site per day is not advised, the ministry had said on Wednesday.
11. The states and UTs have also been advised to increase the number of vaccination session sites that would be operational every day in a progressive manner as the vaccination process stabilises and moves forward.
12. The vaccination programme will use Co-WIN, an online digital platform developed by the Union ministry of health and family welfare, which will facilitate real-time information of vaccine stocks, storage temperature and individualised tracking of beneficiaries.
13. Co-WIN will assist programme managers across all levels while conducting vaccination sessions, the PMO said.
14. A dedicated 24×7 call centre – 1075 – has also been established for addressing the queries related to the coronavirus pandemic, vaccine rollout and the Co-WIN software.
15. The vaccination drive will be held daily from 9am to 5pm, except on the days earmarked for routine immunisation programme.