New Delhi: India will launch the much-awaited COVID-19 vaccination drive from Jan. 16 as it is considered to be auspicious because it marks the first day of the sun’s transition into the sun sign Capricon or Makara. This festival is observed each year and is dedicated to the Sun God.
The good news came around 5 pm yesterday, when Prime Minister tweeted “On 16th January, India takes a landmark step forward in fighting COVID-19. Starting that day, India’s nationwide vaccination drive begins. Priority will be given to our brave doctors, healthcare workers, frontline workers including Safai Karmacharis. Be it our tech industry or the pharma industry, India has always been at the forefront of helping mitigate global challenges.”
This also put all speculations to rest regarding beginning of vaccination drive in the wake of confusion over its launch with each State propping up different dates for kicking off vaccine drive. The decision to launch the nationwide vaccine drive was taken a meeting chaired by PM Modi to review the status of COVID-19 in the country along with the preparedness of the State/UTs for Corona vaccination yesterday which was attended by the Cabinet Secretary, Principal Secretary to PM, Health Secretary and other senior officials concerned.
After the detailed review, it was decided that in view of the forthcoming festivals including Lohri, Makara Sankranti, Magh Bihu etc., COVID-19 vaccination drive would commence from Jan. 16.
The roll-out of COVID-19 vaccine would provide priority to the healthcare workers and the frontline workers who are estimated to be around 3 crore, followed by those above 50 years of age and the under-50 population groups with co-morbidities numbering around 27 crore.
Modi reviews COVID status
PM Modi took a detailed and comprehensive review of the status of COVID management covering various issues. Emergency Use Authorisation or Accelerated Approval has been granted by the National Regulator for two vaccines (Covishield and Covaxin) which have established safety and immunogenicity.
The PM was briefed about the preparedness status of the Centre in close collaboration with the State and UT Governments for roll out of the vaccine in the near future. The vaccination exercise in underpinned by the principles of people’s participation (Jan Bhagidari); utilising experience of elections (booth strategy) and Universal Immunization Program (UIP); no compromise of existing healthcare services, especially national programs and primary healthcare; no compromise on scientific and regulatory norms, other SOPs and an orderly and smooth implementation driven by technology.
The Prime Minister was also apprised about the Co-WIN Vaccine Delivery Management System. The unique digital platform will provide real time information of vaccine stocks, their storage temperature and individualised tracking of beneficiaries of the COVID-19 vaccine. This platform will assist the programme managers across all levels through automated session allocation for pre-registered beneficiaries, their verification and for generating a digital certificate upon successful completion of the vaccine schedule. More than 79 lakh beneficiaries have already been registered on the platform.
As the vaccinators and vaccine administrators comprise a crucial pillar of the vaccination exercise, their training process was detailed out. 2,360 participants were trained during the national-level Training of Trainers which comprised State Immunisation Officers, Cold Chain Officers, IEC officials, development partners etc. More than 61,000 programme managers, 2 lakh vaccinators and 3.7 lakh other vaccination team members have been trained so far as part of trainings at States, Districts and Block-levels.
Meanwhile Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa in his tweet said “India will be achieving an important milestone in fight against Corona by launching vaccination against COVID-19 from Jan 16 across the country.”
Health and Medical Education Minister Dr.K. Sudhakar tweeted, “Thanks to the meticulous planning and execution of our PM @narendramodiji, India will start the roll out of vaccination from Jan 16. More than 75 lakh healthcare workers will be vaccinated in the first phase including 6.3 lakh from Karnataka.”
Beneficiaries of Corona vaccine in first round