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Worlds's largest Covid-19 vaccine drive all set to begin in India tomorrow

TJE Desk

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to virtually kick off the vaccination drive in the country on Saturday moring. Mr. Modi will launch the inoculation drive at 10.30 am Saturday by addressing 3,006 vaccination sites across the country via video-conferencing.  The drive will be the world’s biggest inoculation drive against the novel coronavirus as India starts vaccinating three crore of its frontline workers. In the first phase, two indigenously developed vaccines, Covaxin and Covishield, will be administered to frontline Covid varriors. Over one crore and 5.27 lakh people have been infected by the virus in India so far, and close to 1.52 lakh have died.

Priority groups

The priority groups include health workers, safai karmacharis, the Army and disaster management volunteers. The exercise will be conducted for those above the age of 18. Each site,  which will function like an election booths. There will have three hard copies of the beneficiary list at all the vaccination sites. Thenames of those receiving the vaccine jab will be uploaded by officials to the government’s Co-Win portal — Saturday’s list was uploaded two days in advance. 

It’s like elections

The vaccination session is from 9 am to 5 pm. Whoever comes till 5 pm will be vaccinated even after 5 pm just like how it happens in elections

  • India will also utilise its experience from the Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) and people’s participation (Jan Bhagidari) in the exercise.

Free vaccine in first phase

The vaccines being administered in the first phase will be free. “The Centre will bear the expenses for vaccinating the 3 crore priority population,” PM Narendra Modi had said earlier this week.

Covaxin and Covishield

Two vaccines – Covaxin and Covishield – have been granted approval by India’s drug regulator CDSCO. They have received what is known as a “restricted use approval in an emergency situation”, which means they can be used despite the companies not having completed clinical trials. Covishield is the Indian variant of AZD1222, the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and University of Oxford. It was developed and manufactured in the country by Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII).

Covaxin has been developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the National Institute of Virology. At present, there are 1.1 crore doses of the Serum Institute and 55 lakh doses of Bharat Biotech vaccine available for administration. Each person is administered two shots of both vaccines, 28 days apart. 

Who gets the priority?

This means, states like Maharashtra and Kerala, which are reporting the highest daily cases, will likely get more vaccines as compared to other states. States, in turn, will decide how to distribute the shot at a district level. The distribution at a district level has to be in proportionate to ensure each beneficiary can be administered two doses of the same vaccine. 

Official website Co-Win

As people are vaccinated, their data will be uploaded in real-time on the Co-Win platform. The government plans to use Aadhaar to help in identify and monitoring beneficiaries. Words's largest Covid-19 vaccine drive all set to begin in India