India ready for Covid-19 vaccination drive, to commence from Saturday on 3000 sites
January 16 will mark commencement of one of the biggest vaccination drives in India. The Covid-19 vaccination drive will be launched across India at around 3000 sites, with the number scheduled to increase to up to 5000 by end of this month. This number is further expected to ramp up by March to 12,000 or more.
Each site is set to have average of 100 vaccine recipients on the first day. This number may vary and also increase across states based on the number of frontline workers and healthcare professionals registered for vaccination and how much time the administering of vaccine is taking for centre officials. Each site will have 5 staff members, including one vaccinator.
An official said, “We will start with 3000 sites and go up to 5000 sites over the next two weeks. Our aim is to further increase this number to 12,000 or even more by March as the programme stabilizes and supplies improve. This is a dynamic process and at this stage our focus is to ensure that everything remains smooth so that people gain confidence.”
The vaccination protocol has been decided with only one vaccine brand, either Covishield or Covaxin, being provided at one site to avoid any confusion. The distribution will be done by government based on vaccine availability and logistics.
The government official resource further explained, “This will ensure that beneficiaries are inoculated with the same brand when they come back for the second dose and this is crucial. Besides, it will also help avoid any situation of conflict by not giving options to choose from the two approved brands.”
All vaccination related data will be recorded on the IT platform, Co-WIN.
Bharat Biotech, the Hyderabad firm which has developed Covaxin in collaboration with the ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research), has shipped vaccines on Wednesday to 11 cities – Guwahati, Kurukshetra, Patna, Delhi, Gannavaram, Bengaluru, Lucknow, Chennai, Bhubaneshwar, Jaipur and Pune. The initial agreement is to supply 55 lakh doses of Covaxin.
Pune based Serum Institute of India as of now is supplying 110 lakh doses of Covishield. The consignments will reach 60 locations across India.
Government is planning to keep the supply of vaccine staggered to ensure smooth replenishment of supply orders. The goal is to vaccinate all healthcare workers, approximated at 1 crore, over course of next two months, with the first dose of vaccine.