‘Jab’ we met

India has formally approved the emergency use of two coronavirus vaccines as it prepares for one of the world’s biggest inoculation drives.

The drugs regulatory authority gave the green light to the jabs developed by AstraZeneca with Oxford University and by local firm Bharat Biotech. Prime Minister Narendra Modi called it ‘a decisive turning point’.

India plans to inoculate some 300 million people on a priority list this year. It has recorded the second-highest number of infections in the world, with more than 10.3 million confirmed cases to date. Nearly 150,000 people have died.

Meanwhile, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan appealed to people not to be misguided by ‘rumours’ regarding the safety and efficacy of the coronavirus vaccine, and said the most prioritised beneficiaries would be vaccinated for free. Vardhan stressed that there would be no compromise on any protocol while approving the vaccine.

The Minister, who visited two mock vaccination sites in Delhi to review the drill, said free vaccines would be provided in the first phase of the inoculation drive to the most prioritised beneficiaries, including one crore healthcare and two crore frontline workers.

A dry run to assess the readiness of the mechanism laid out for the imminent Covid-19 immunisation drive will be undertaken in six sites of Uttar Pradesh from 5 January, the State government said on Sunday. In a statement, the government said the dry run will start at 10 am in three urban and as many rural sites with a minimum of two sessions.

Issuing necessary guidelines to the divisional commissioners and district magistrates, Additional Chief Secretary, Health, Amit Mohan Prasad asked them to ensure that syringes, vaccine, AEFI (Adverse Event Following Immunization) kit and other logistics reach the session sites in time.

An effective and efficient strategy should be devised and implemented to ensure that no one is missued out in the vaccination drive.


NT Bureau