Three lakh healthcare workers will be inoculated on Day 1
(Sourced from PTI)
Around three lakh healthcare workers will be inoculated at 2,934 sites across the country on day one of the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive which is set to begin from January 16, official sources said. Each vaccination session will cater to a maximum of 100 beneficiaries. The Union Health Ministry has advised states not to organize an "unreasonable number of vaccinations per site per day."
"States have been advised to organize vaccination sessions taking into account 10 percent reserve/wastage doses and an average of 100 vaccinations per session each day," the Ministry said on Wednesday. It also advised the states and Union Territories to increase the number of vaccination session sites that would be operational every day in a progressive manner as the vaccination process stabilizes and moves forward.
The government has hinted that recipients, for now, will not have the option to choose the vaccine. India has approved two vaccines for restricted emergency use - Oxford/Astrazeneca's Covishield, manufactured by Serum Institute of India, and COVAXIN, indigenously developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research. Getting vaccinated for COVID-19 will be voluntary, the Health Ministry has said.
According to the government, the shots will be offered first to an estimated one crore healthcare workers, and around two crore frontline workers, and then to persons above 50 years of age, followed by persons younger than 50 years of age with comorbidities. The cost of vaccination of healthcare and frontline workers will be borne by the central government, officials had said.
All 1.65 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines, 1.1 crore of Covishield, and 55 lakh of COVAXIN, procured by the Centre have been allocated to all states and UTs in proportion to their healthcare workers' database. Most of the 1.1 crore Covishield doses from SII have been shipped to 60 consignee points across India from where they will be sent to smaller centers.
Of the 55 lakh doses of COVAXIN, the first tranche of 2.4 lakh doses has been dispatched to 12 sites- Ganavaram, Guwahati, Patna, Delhi, Kurukshetra, Bengaluru, Pune, Bhubaneswar, Jaipur, Chennai, Lucknow, and Hyderabad, official sources said. To recall, the vaccine will be given in two doses with a gap of 28 days between them, and its effectiveness will be seen only after 14 days.
On the possible side-effects of the vaccine, AIIMS Director Dr. Randeep Guleria said that like other vaccines, some side effects in form of mild fever, pain at the site of injection, or body ache can be seen in some individuals. States have been asked to make arrangements to deal with any COVID-19 vaccine-related side effects as one of the measures toward safe vaccine delivery.
Dr. Randeep Guleria said a person with active and symptomatic COVID-19 infection may increase the risk of spreading the same to others at the vaccination site and thus infected individuals should defer vaccination for at least 14 days after the symptoms are resolved.