India to roll out COVID-19 vaccine by January 13, says Health Ministry

The Union Health Ministry on Tuesday said that it is prepared to roll out the coronavirus vaccine by January 13, paving way for mass vaccination drive in the country.

“We are prepared to roll out COVID-19 vaccines within 10 days of granting emergency use authorisation date, based on dry run feedback,” said Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan at a press conference. Approval to two vaccines was given on January 3.

The Drug Controller General of India had, on Sunday, announced approvals to two vaccine – Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield manufactured by Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin – against coronavirus infection – for restricted emergency use.

The announcement is a major relief for India which has the second highest number of infections in the world, after the US.

The vaccine will be first offered to 10 million healthcare workers, along with 20 million frontline and essential workers and 270 million elderly, mostly above the age of 50 years with co-morbidities.

Talking about the vaccination process, the Health Secretary said that healthcare workers and frontline workers would not need to register themselves as a beneficiary as their data has been stored in a bulk database.

“Healthcare workers and frontline workers would not need to register themselves as a beneficiary as their data in bulk database that has been populated on the Co-WIN vaccine delivery management system in a bulk manner,” said Rajesh Bhushan.

He further said, “When we would come to the population priority group, the provision of registration or editing of data would be used. The system electronically allows session allocation. …The process of session allocation would be digital. Whether the beneficiaries has been vaccinated, this will be captured digitally.”

“The active cases in the country are less than 250,000 and continue to decline. The positivity rate stood at 1.97 per cent,” he added.

The Health Secretary further said that 44 per cent of active cases are in hospital with moderate or severe symptoms while 56 per cent of cases are very mild or asymptomatic and are in home isolation.

India has reported 16,375 new COVID-19 cases, 29,091 recoveries, and 201 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of cases to 1,03,56,845, said the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) on Tuesday.

The total number of active cases stands at 2,31,036 while the total recoveries have reached 99,75,958. The death toll due to coronavirus has mounted to 1,49,850. (IANS and ANI)

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