Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag-off the COVID-19 vaccination drive on January 16 which is expected to be the world's largest vaccination programme. Preparations for this have been going in full swing across in the country.
PM Modi will virtually launch the pan-India COVID-19 vaccination drive on Saturday. On the same day, PM Modi will also officially launch the Co-WIN app, according to India Today TV.
So far, the country's drug regulators have given their nod to two COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use. These are - Covishield and Covaxin. Oxford University and AstraZeneca have developed the Covishield vaccine and it is being produced in India by domestic pharmaceutical giant Serum Institute of India (SII). While Bharat Biotech has indigenously developed the Covaxin vaccine.
The government has already stated that in the first phase of the vaccination program, the vaccine will be administered to around 3 crore healthcare and frontline workers. After this group, priority will be given to those individuals who are above the age of 50 and the under-50 population with co-morbidities. The size of this group of people is around 27 crore.
The decision to launch India's vaccination drive on January 16 was taken by the Prime Minister after reviewing the COVID-19 situation in the country and the status of vaccine development programs.
"After the detailed review, it was decided that in view of the forthcoming festivals including Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Pongal, Magh Bihu, etc, the Covid-19 vaccination will start from January 16, 2021," a government statement earlier said. Lohri is being celebrated today i.e January 13.
"Emergency Use Authorisation or Accelerated Approval has been granted by the National Regulator for two vaccines (Covishield and Covaxin) which have established safety and immunogenicity," the government added.
Earlier, 476 boxes filled with lakhs of Covishield vaccine doses were transported to 13 locations across India from the Pune Airport for the vaccination drive scheduled on January 16.
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