Chennai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch India’s Covid-19 vaccination drive on 16 January via video conferencing and adequate doses of the two made-in-India vaccines have been delivered across the country to all states and Union territories, the government said on Thursday.
This will be the world’s largest vaccination programme covering the entire length and breadth of the country and all preparations are in place to initiate the programme on the principles of ‘Jan Bhagidari’, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.
Prime Minister Modi will launch the pan-India roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccination drive on 16 January at 10.30 am via video conferencing, the PMO said.
In its list of do’s and don’ts to the states, the Centre stated that vaccination is allowed only for those who are above the age of 18 years, the centre said. Women who are pregnant or not sure of their pregnancy and lactating mothers should not receive the vaccine.
It also said that interchangeability of vaccine is not permitted. The second dose of the vaccine should also be of the one that was administered as first dose.
A total of 3,006 session sites across all states and UTs will be virtually connected during the launch and around 100 beneficiaries will be vaccinated at each session site on the first day, the statement said.
Separately, sources said Modi is likely to interact via video link with some healthcare workers from across the country who will be receiving the shots on the first day.
Officials at New Delhi’s AIIMS and Safdarjung hospitals, which are among the shortlisted facilities, said they are ‘ready for a two-way communication’.
The PMO statement said the vaccination programme is based on principles of priority groups to be vaccinated first. Healthcare workers, both in the government and private sectors, including Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) workers, will receive the vaccine during this phase.
The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) had earlier this month approved Oxford COVID-19 vaccine Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute, and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country, paving the way for a massive inoculation drive.
Earlier in the day, the health ministry said, ‘The massive countrywide COVID-19 vaccination drive will be rolled out by Prime Minister from 16 January…Therefore, it has been decided by the Ministry of Health in consultation with the office of the President of India to reschedule the Polio vaccination day, also known as the National Immunisation Day (NID) or ‘Polio Ravivar’ to 31 January’.
The full initial procurement of 1.65 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines- Covishield and Covaxin has been allocated to all states and UTs in proportion to their healthcare workers database.
“Therefore, there is no question of discrimination against any State in the allocation of vaccination doses. This is an initial lot of supply of vaccine doses and would be continuously replenished in the weeks to come. Therefore, any apprehension being expressed on account of deficient supply is totally baseless and unfounded,” the Ministry said.