Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Sunday said that three lakh healthcare workers and six lakh frontline workers will be vaccinated in the first phase of the immunisation process against coronavirus in the national Capital, ANI reported. People above the age of 50 will be next in line for the vaccine, Jain said, according to NDTV.
“The preparations for the rollout is underway in Delhi,” the health minister said. “A storage facility has been created. We are preparing to set up 1,000 centers. We are setting up around 500 to 600 centers for the first phase. We will start administering the vaccine as soon as it is made available.”
Jain’s comments came after the Drug Controller General of India approved restricted emergency use of vaccines developed by pharmaceutical companies, Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech. Serum Institute is the local maker of Covishield, the vaccine developed by Oxford University and pharmaceuticals company AstraZeneca, while Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin is an indigenous vaccine, developed with backing from the Indian Council of Medical Research and the National Institute of Virology.
On Saturday, Jain had said that all residents of Delhi will be provided the vaccine free of cost and asserted that the Arvind Kejriwal-led government had made all arrangements for the vaccination drive, reported the Hindustan Times.
The minister also said that the Delhi government has started to gradually reduce the number of beds reserved for Covid-19 patients in government and private hospitals, NDTV reported. “We started de-escalation a few days ago and reduced the number of beds reserved for Covid patients in both private and government hospitals,” he said. “Earlier, 18,000 beds were reserved for Covid patients and after de-escalation, we have around 10,000 beds now.”
The caseload in the national Capital has declined consistently over the last few days. On Saturday, Delhi reported 424 cases, the second day of fewer than 500 infections, since May 17.
Meanwhile, Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said that around 1.60 lakh health workers in the state will get the vaccine in the first phase, reported PTI. The minister said that the vaccine will then be administered on around three lakh frontline workers, including policemen, paramilitary forces, sanitation workers and disaster management volunteers.