The mega COVID-19 vaccination drive in the country is all set to begin from January 16 and it will cover around three crore healthcare and frontline workers in the first phase. Notably, the two vaccines – Covaxin and Covishield – which will be used for the inoculation. In a major announcement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has confirmed that state governments will not have to bear the cost of vaccines in the first phase as the Centre will take care of it.
India’s second coronavirus vaccine maker, Bharat Biotech is set to dispatch Covaxin consignment from the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport on Tuesday evening, a senior official of the Airports Cargo division told PTI. The consignment weighs 970 kgs and would be shipped from Hyderabad to 11 different destinations, official told reporters. India will begin vaccinating its healthcare workers from January 16 and the airlines have started delivering vaccines to states from Tuesday morning. Covaxin is an indigenosly developed vaccine by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Institute of Virology (NIV). Frontline workers like sanitation workers, police and paramilitary personnel, home guards, disaster management volunteers and other jawans in civil defence and revenue officials associated with containment and surveillance will also receive the vaccine in the first phase.
In the second phase, those above 50 years of age and the under-50 population groups with co-morbidities will be covered. Around three crore people will be vaccinated in the first phase while the second phase will cover nearly 27 crore people, making it the largest COVID-19 inoculation drive in the world.