India is all set to kickstart its mega vaccination drive against coronavirus on January 16, prioritising around 30 million healthcare and frontline workers in the first phase.
Ahead of the mega drive across India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a virtual meeting with all the Chief Ministers of all states on Monday, January 11, to discuss the pandemic situation and the vaccination roll-out in the country.
In the first phase of the world's largest inoculation programme, three crore healthcare and frontline workers will be vaccinated. Following that, those above 50 years of age and the under-50 population groups with co-morbidities, together numbering around 27 crore, will be vaccinated.
India recently granted emergency use authorisation to two vaccines, Oxford's Covishield - manufactured by Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin.
The SII's Covishield vaccine will be ready for transportation from Pune on January 11 or 12, according to a PTI report. The vaccine-laden trucks will move out from Manjari location of the Serum Institute with elaborate police security.
Kool-Ex Cold Chain Ltd is the lead vendor responsible for the movement of the vaccine from the SII factory to 48 primary government locations (depots) in the first phase of vaccination.
As many as 2,360 participants have been trained during national-level training of trainers, which comprised state immunisation officers, cold chain officers, and development partners among others.
More than 61,000 programme managers, 200,000 vaccinators and 370,000 other vaccination team members have been trained so far as part of training at states, districts, and block levels.
Ahead of the nationwide roll-out of COVID-19 vaccine, states have made all necessary preparations, including identifying vaccination sites and registration of healthcare and other frontline workers.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said her government is making arrangements to provide free COVID-19 vaccines to all people of the state.
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said his government has finalised 89 sites to roll out the COVID-19 vaccination drive.
Rajasthan Health Minister Raghu Sharma said around 4.5 lakh health workers will be vaccinated in the state in the first phase. Sharma said data of 4,36,146 government and private sector health workers had been uploaded on COVIN (COVID-19 Vaccine Intelligence Network) software by 1 PM on Saturday.
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said that nearly 11 lakh people engaged in COVID-19 duties, including health care and frontline personnel, will be vaccinated for coronavirus on priority in the state. He added that the state had created a database of 1.2 crore people under four priority groups who will be administered the vaccine as per the Centre's guidelines.
The Goa government has identified eight hospitals for the first phase of COVID-19 vaccination in the coastal state where around 18,000 health care workers will receive the doses.
Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar said he would be the first person in the state to be administered the vaccine during phase-I planned for health workers.
Around 3.6 lakh health workers will be inoculated in the first phase in Andhra Pradesh. In all, 1,940 sites will be used for the vaccination programme, of which 1,659 have cold chain points within the premises.
The vaccination drive in India is starting almost a year after the first case was reported on January 30, 2020, in Kerala.
In December 2020, the UK became the first country to start vaccination, followed by several other nations, including the US, Belarus, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Kuwait, Malta, Mexico, Oman, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland and the UAE.
There are 2,24,190 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country, which constitutes 2.16 per cent of the total caseload so far of over 1.04 crore, according to the latest Health Ministry data. More than 1.5 lakh people have died so far.