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COVID-19 vaccination in India to start from 16 January, 30 crore including frontline workers, aged and high-risk people to be vaccinated

Initially, around 3 crore healthcare and frontline workers will receive the vaccine. After that, people above 50 years of age, and people below 50 with co-morbidities, estimated around 27 crore, will be selected for vaccination.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that India’s vaccination program against Covid-19 will start from 16th January. The vaccination will start after the forthcoming festivals across the country including Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Pongal, Magh Bihu etc.

The PM said that priority will be given to doctors, healthcare workers, frontline workers including Safai Karamcharis in providing the vaccines. It is estimated that initially around 3 crore frontline workers will receive the vaccine. After that, people above 50 years of age, and people below 50 with co-morbidities, estimated around 27 crore, will be selected for vaccination.

Two vaccines have been granted Emergency Use Authorisation or Accelerated Approval by the authorities in India. They are, Covishield developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University and manufactured by Serum Institute of India, and Covaxin developed by Bharat Biotech.

The Prime Minister today chaired a high-level meeting to review the status of COVID vaccination preparedness in the country. The meeting was attended by Cabinet Secretary, Principal Secretary to PM, Health Secretary, and other senior officials concerned. It has been decided that the vaccination program will be conducted under the principles of people’s participation (Jan Bhagidari); utilizing 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 SOPs; and an orderly and smooth implementation driven by technology.

The Co-WIN Vaccine Delivery Management System had been developed to coordinate and monitor the vaccination program. 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.

As a preparation for vaccination program, a training program of vaccinators and vaccine administrators has been conducted. 2,360 participants were trained during national level Training of Trainers which comprised state immunization officers, cold chain officers, IEC officials, development partners etc. Apart from that, 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.

Moreover, 3 rounds of dry run have been conducted to check the preparedness of the program. The third dry run was conducted yesterday across 615 districts covering 4895 session sites in 33 States/UTs.

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