Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch India’s coronavirus vaccination drive at 10.30 am on January 16 via video conferencing, the government said in a release on Thursday.
As many as 3,006 sites across all states and Union Territories will be virtually connected during the launch, the release from prime minister’s office said, adding that around 100 beneficiaries will be vaccinated at each of the sites on the first day.
The vaccination programme will use digital platform CoWIN facilitate real time information of vaccine stocks, storage temperature and individualised tracking of the beneficiaries, the release said. The coronavirus helpline number, 1075, will now provide information on the CoWIN software and vaccine roll out as well.
Meanwhile, earlier during the day, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also announced the Capital’s vaccination plan. He said that in the beginning, vaccines will be administered at 81 centres four days a week. “It will then be increased to 175 in a few days and then to 1,000 centres across Delhi,” he added, according to ANI.
The Centre is planning to inoculate 30 crore people over the next few months. About 3 crore healthcare and frontline workers will get the vaccine first. After that, people over the age of 50 and those with comorbidities will be vaccinated.
India has cleared two vaccines for emergency use – Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Serum Institute’s Covishield. On Wednesday, Bharat Biotech dispatched the first batches of its coronavirus vaccine to Delhi and 10 other cities. This came a day after the Serum Institute of India sent the first batches of its Covishield vaccine to 13 locations across the country.
The government has ordered 1.1 crore doses of Covishield at Rs 200 per dose. It plans to buy a total of 5.60 crore doses by April. From Bharat Biotech, the government has procured 55 lakh doses. The company will provide 38.5 lakh doses to the government at a price of Rs 295 each, while 16.5 lakh doses will be made free of cost.
The Serum Institute is the local maker of Covishield, the vaccine developed by Oxford University and pharmaceuticals company AstraZeneca.
Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin is India’s first indigenous vaccine candidate. It has been made in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research and the National Institute of Virology. Experts have, however, questioned the government’s decision to clear Covaxin without the publication of data from its phase-3 human trials.
India registered 16,946 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, taking the overall count to 1,05,12,093. The country’s toll rose by 198 to 1,51,727. India’s active cases stood at at 2,13,603, while the number of recoveries reached 1,01,46,763.