The country’s mega coronavirus vaccination campaign will begin on Saturday, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi giving it a virtual launch.
On day one of the major nationwide Covid-19 inoculation campaign, which is scheduled to begin on 16 January, as many as 3 lakh frontline healthcare staff will be inoculated at 2,934 sites across India.
“This is the biggest vaccination drive in India so far and it has been decided to vaccinate about 3 lakh healthcare workers at 2,934 sites,” a senior government official said.
- 100 beneficiaries will be treated at each vaccination session
A maximum of 100 beneficiaries will be treated at each vaccination session and the Union Health Ministry has advised states not to organize ‘unreasonable vaccination numbers per site per day.’
The health ministry said, “States have been advised to organise vaccination sessions taking into account 10 per cent reserve/wastage doses and an average of 100 vaccinations per session each day.”
“Therefore, any undue haste on the part of states to organize unreasonable numbers of vaccination per site per day is not advised,” Therefore, any undue haste on the part of states to organize unreasonable vaccination numbers per site per day is not advised.
It also claimed that it was also proposed that the States and Union Territories increase the number of Covid-19 vaccination sites that would be operational every day in a progressive manner as the vaccination process stabilizes and progresses.
- No option to choose from two vaccines
On Tuesday, the government indicated that, for now, vaccine recipients would not have the option to choose from two vaccines—Oxford Covid-19, Covishield, manufactured by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech’s indigenous-developed Covaxin—approved for restricted emergency use in the country.
These vaccinations may cost the country in the range of 200 to 295.
As per the Union Ministry of Health, it would be voluntary to get vaccinated for the killer virus.
In a response to a question, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said at a press conference on Tuesday, “At many places in the world more than one vaccine is being administered. But, presently, in no country vaccine recipients have the option of choosing the shots.”
The shots will be given, according to the government, first to an estimated one crore healthcare worker and approximately two crore frontline staff, and then to people over 50 years of age, followed by people under 50 years of age with related comorbidities.
The central government will bear the expense of vaccinating healthcare and frontline staff, officials said.
All of the Centre’s 1.65 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccines — 1.1 crore of Covishield and 55 lakh of Covaxin — were distributed to all states and UTs in proportion to their database of health staff, it said.
Most of the 1.1 crore Covishield doses from Pune-based SII have been delivered to 60 recipient points across India from where they will be sent to smaller centres, according to official sources.
Of the 55 lakh doses ordered by the Centre for indigenously produced Covaxin from Bharat Biotech, the first tranche of 2.4 lakh doses was dispatched to 12 states.
Covaxin was dispatched to 12 locations—one each in Ganavaram, Guwahati, Patna, Delhi, Kurukshetra, Bengaluru, Pune, Bhubaneswar, Jaipur, Chennai, Lucknow and Hyderabad, an official source said.
Covaxin was developed in partnership with the Indian Council of Medical Research by Bharat Biotech (ICMR).
- 28-day gap between the two doses of Covid-19 vaccines
Officials from the Ministry of Health said that there would be a 28-day gap between the two doses of Covid-19 vaccines and that their efficacy can only be seen after 14 days, and urged people to continue to follow the required actions of Covid.
The Ministry that listed the Covid-19 vaccine set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) also suggested that it was advisable to obtain a full schedule of the anti-coronavirus vaccine regardless of the previous history of coronavirus infection, as this would help to establish a good immune response to the disease.
As to whether a person with an active Covid-19 infection is vaccinated, Dr Randeep Guleria, Director of AIIMS, said that a person with an active and symptomatic Covid-19 infection may increase the risk of spreading the same to others at the vaccination site and that infected people should delay vaccination for at least 14 days after the symptoms have been resolved.
Elaborating on the potential side effects of the Covid-19 vaccine, Guleria said that some would have some degree of side effects in some persons, as is true with other vaccines, which may be in the form of mild fever, injection site discomfort, body ache, etc.