Vaccination drive against COVID-19 to kick off on Jan 16: Govt

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New Delhi (NVI): The COVID-19 vaccination drive in the country will start from January 16 and first priority will be given to healthcare and frontline workers, the government said today.

The announcement comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi today chaired a high-level meeting to review the status of COVID-19 in the country.

The meeting was attended by Cabinet Secretary, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Health Secretary, and other senior officials concerned.

PM Modi also reviewed the preparedness of the State and UTs for the COVID-19 vaccination rollout.

After the detailed review, it was decided that in view of the forthcoming festivals which include Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Pongal, Magh Bihu etc., the COVID-19 vaccination will commence from January 16, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

The roll out of COVID-19 vaccine will provide priority to healthcare and frontline workers who are estimated to be around 3 crore.

“This will be followed by those above 50 years of age and the under-50 population groups with co-morbidities numbering around 27 crore,” the statement added.

The Prime Minister also took to Twitter in this regard and wrote, “On 16th January, India takes a landmark step forward in fighting COVID-19. Starting that day, India’s nation-wide vaccination drive begins. Priority will be given to our brave doctors, healthcare workers, frontline workers including Safai Karamcharis.”

During the review meeting, PM Modi took a detailed and comprehensive review of status of COVID-19 management covering various issues, the statement read.

“Emergency use authorisation or accelerated approval has been granted by the national Regulator for two vaccines (Covishield and Covaxin) which have established safety & immunogenicity,” PM Modi said.

At the meeting, the PM Modi was briefed about the preparedness status of the Centre in close collaboration with the State and UT governments for roll out of the vaccine in the future.

He was also apprised about the ‘Co-WIN’ vaccine delivery management system. The digital platform will provide real time information of vaccine stocks, their storage temperature and individualized tracking of beneficiaries of the COVID-19 vaccine, the statement said.

The 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.

As the vaccinators and vaccine administrators comprise a crucial pillar of the vaccination exercise, their training process was detailed out, the ministry further said.

“About 2,360 participants were trained during national level Training of Trainers. So far, more than 61,000 programme managers, two lakh vaccinators and 3.7 lakh other vaccination team members have been trained,” it said.

PM Modi was further apprised on the 3 phases of dry runs conducted across the country. “The third dry run was conducted yesterday across 615 districts covering 4,895 session sites in 33 States and UTs,” the statement said.