India to start COVID-19 vaccination drive from January 16

St Kitts and Nevis registers 3 new COVID-19 cases
St Kitts and Nevis registers 3 new COVID-19 cases

India: The Indian government has decided to start the mass vaccination drive from January 16. About a week after approving two coronavirus vaccines.

The decision was stated by the Prime Minister’s Office on Saturday, January 09, by a press release.

This decision was taken after Prime Minister Narendra Modi headed by a high-level meeting to evaluate the status of COVID-19 in the South Asian country — which was once listed as the second-worst affected country in the world. The meeting was accompanied by Cabinet Secretary, Principal Secretary to PM, Health Secretary, and other higher officials concerned.

It has been decided to start the vaccination drive after the festivities of the month — such as Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Pongal, Magh Bihu, etc. — are wrapped up.

“The vaccination exercise is underpinned by the principles of people’s participation (Jan Bhagidari); using the experience of elections (booth strategy) and Universal Immunization Program (UIP); no compromise of existing healthcare services, particularly national programs and primary health care; no compromise on scientific and regulatory norms, other SOPs; and an orderly and smooth implementation driven by technology,” the press release read.

Covishield and COVAXIN, the two licensed vaccines, will first be administered to the healthcare workers and the frontline workers — who are estimated to be nearly three crores.

The second group in the priority line will be citizens aged above 50 years and people who are vulnerable to the deadly virus and then “the under-50 population groups with co-morbidities numbering around 27 crores,” India’s government said.

India has already conducted dry runs to test the readiness of the authorities and healthcare workers.

Health Minister of India Harsh Vardhan closely observed this dry run vaccination and assured India everyone would get free vaccines. 

Ajay Sharma, a resident of New Delhi, said that they have full faith in the government and their vaccines. 

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