First consignments of COVID-19 vaccines reach different cities

First consignments of COVID-19 vaccines reach different cities

India prepares to roll out massive immunisation campaign from January 16

New Delhi, January 12, 2021

The first consignments of the COVID-19 vaccines were lifted to different cities today as India prepared to roll out one of the largest ever such immunisation exercises from January 16 to innoculate its 1.3 billion people against the novel coronavirus disease.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan told media persons here that, 54,72,000 doses of vaccine have been received till 4 pm today.

All the doses, consisting of 1.1 crore doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, Covishield, from Serum Institute of India (SII), Pune, and 55 lakh doses of the indigenous vaccine, Covaxin, from Bharat Biotech India Limited (BBIL), Hyderabad will be received in all States and Union Territories (UTs) by January 14.

He said all preparations were on track for the roll-out of the vaccination campaignn from January 16.

"So far 26 virtual meetings/training sessions have been held with States/UTs on the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. Different category of professionals will be required for discharge of different responsibilities. For that purpose, 2,360 Master Trainers, 61,000 Programme Managers, 2 lakh Vaccinators, and 3.7 lakh other Vaccination Team Members have been trained so far," he said.

Bhushan said that, in the first phase, one crore healthcare workers and two crore frontline workers would be vaccinated, after which 27 crore prioritized age groups, consisting of those above 50 years of age and people below 50 years with co-morbidities would be given the vaccine.

He said the vaccines would first arrive at the four Government Medical Store Depots (GSMDs) at Karnal (Haryana), Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai.

All States have atleast one state-level regional vaccine store which are temperature controlled, while some of the bigger states have more than one stores. Uttar Pradesh has 9, Madhya Pradesh has 4, Gujarat has 4, Kerala has 3, J&K has 2, Karnataka has 2 and Rajasthan has 2 stores.

Bhushan also said that the cost of vaccination of healthcare personnel and frontline workers would be borne by the Central Government.

He mentioned that there are five key principles for COVID-19 vaccination exercise which may last beyond a year. These are: people's participation; utilization of experiences from elections at booth-level and Universal Immunization Programmes; no compromise of existing healthcare services; no compromise on scientific and regulatory norms and other SOPs; and an orderly, smooth implementation driven by technology.

Bhushan said that, apart from the SII and BBIL vaccines, four other vaccine candidates like Zydus Cadila, Sputnik V, Biological E and Gennova are in the pipeline. "In the coming months, all of these four or some among these have possibilities of being taken up by the national regulator for consideration of emergency use authorisation," he said.

He said the Central Government is procuring 110 lakh doses of Covishhield vaccine from SII at a cost of Rs 200 per dose, excluding taxes. Also, 55 lakh does are being procured from BBIL, which will come at Rs 295 per dose, excluding taxes, for 38.5 lakh doeses. The remaining 16.5 lakh doses are being provided free of cost to the government by BBIL, which means that the cost of the vaccine effectively works out to Rs 206 per dose.

There will be a gap of 28 days between the two doses and effectiveness begins 14 days after the second dose, he said, highlighting the need for COVID-appropriate behaviour even after vaccination.

NNN

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