Prime Minister Narendra Modi will roll out the nationwide vaccination drive on Saturday at 10:30 am. He will also launch the CoWIN app that is integral to the entire mass vaccination process. The roll-out will be done through video conferencing. India's coronavirus vaccination drive would be the world's largest inoculation drive. On the inaugural day, around 3,006 session sites across the country will be virtually connected. Around 100 beneficiaries would be vaccinated at each session.
Calling it the beginning of the end of the coronavirus pandemic, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said, "Tomorrow is an important day...it is the last phase of the battle against coronavirus. I say this is probably the beginning of the end of Covid now which is going to start tomorrow." He also added that even with the vaccine, all safety protocols must be maintained.
Here's a lowdown of India's COVID-19 vaccination drive:
India has two vaccine candidates so far -- Covishield by Serum Institute of India and Covaxin by Bharat Biotech. The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) approved the vaccines for emergency use on January 2. The government said in a statement on Friday that adequate doses of both Covishield and Covaxin have been delivered across to all states and UTs, which have been further delivered to all the districts. "All preparations are in place to initiate the programme on the principles of Jan Bhagidari," said a government statement.
All states and UTs will have multiple session sites or centres at district level. There will be a registration and waiting room, a vaccination zone and an observation room.
Once the beneficiary reaches the site at the designated time and date, they will produce identification documents. When they are verified, they will be sent to the vaccination room where they will receive the shot. After the shot the beneficiary will have to wait in the observation room and will be under observation for 30 minutes. There are emergency kits and ambulances on site.
In the first phase, 30 crore health workers, frontline workers and senior citizens will be vaccinated. All the beneficiaries will be registered on the CoWIN app. Only beneficiaries who have registered on the app will be allowed to visit the centre.
The vaccination process will use the online digital platform developed by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare that will help the authorities keep track in real-time of vaccination stocks, storage temperature and track the beneficiaries.
COVID-19 VACCINE HELPLINE
A 24X7 call centre has been established to answer queries about the coronavirus pandemic, vaccine rollout and the CoWIN software.