The Union Health Ministry said on Saturday that the much-awaited coronavirus vaccination drive will kick off on January 16.
“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,” the ministry said in a statement.
The roll-out of Covid-19 vaccine will give priority to the healthcare and frontline workers who are estimated to be around 3 crore, followed by those above 50 years of age and the under-50 population groups with comorbidities numbering around 27 crore.
On January 3, two vaccines – Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield manufactured by Serum Institute of India – were approved for restricted emergency use.
Earlier on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting to review the status of Covid-19 in the country along with the preparedness of the states and UTs for the vaccination drive.
The Prime Minister took a detailed and comprehensive review of the status of Covid management covering various issues. Modi was also briefed about the preparedness status of the Centre in close collaboration with the state and UT governments for the roll-out of the vaccine.
The Prime Minister was also apprised about the Co-WIN vaccine delivery management system. The unique digital platform will provide real time information of vaccine stocks, their storage temperature and individualised tracking of the beneficiaries of the Covid-19 vaccine.
This platform will assist the programme 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 the vaccinators and vaccine administrators comprise a crucial pillar of the vaccination exercise, their training process was detailed out. A totalof 2,360 participants were trained during the national level ‘Training of Trainers’ which comprised state immunisation officials, cold chain officials, IEC officials, and development partners, among others.
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 the trainings in the state, district and block levels.
The Prime Minister was also apprised on the three phases of dry runs which have been conducted across the country. The third dry run was conducted on Friday across 615 districts covering 4,895 sites in 33 states and UTs.
The country salutes and thanks all the health workers, scientists and researchers who made this happen, along with the teams involved in manufacturing and distribution.