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First 3 crore priority beneficiaries to get Covid-19 vaccine free: Harsh Vardhan

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 02, 2021 Published on January 02, 2021

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan   -  Sushil Kumar Verma

Details of how further 27 crore priority beneficiaries are to be vaccinated until July are being finalised

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday said 3 crore beneficiaries – 1 crore health care and 2 crore frontline workers – would be given Covid-19 vaccine free of cost, in first such indication whether it would be priced or given free.

However, he did not clarify whether the next 27 crore people in the priority groups would get it free. “Details of how further 27 crore priority beneficiaries are to be vaccinated until July are being finalised,” Vardhan said in a tweet. Apart from health care workers and frontline workers such as Armed Forces, Police and Municipal sanitation workers, the government plans to vaccinate those above 50 years of age as well as those suffering from co-morbidities the earliest.

Also read: India managed to duck rise in Covid cases during festival season, says Harsh Vardhan

The statement becomes significant as the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) is expecting to give an emergency use authorisation to Covid-19 vaccine of AstraZeneca and Oxford University, produced and marketed in India by Serum Institute of India, Pune. In a meeting, which went on for nearly 10 hours, on Friday the Subject Expert Committee on Covid-19 vaccines recommended emergency approval for Covishield, according to sources. Reportedly SEC is meeting again on Saturday to examine the application from Bharat Biotech which developed Covaxin jointly with the Indian Council of Medical Research.

Vardhan said this while he was visiting hospital centres that are carrying out a Covid-19 vaccination dry run in the capital. States and Union Territories across the country are currently undertaking a mock drill to test the health care system’s preparedness to conduct the mammoth vaccine administration exercise.

Also read: Covid-19 vaccine likely to be distributed in first few months of 2021: Union Health Minister

Meanwhile, over 19,000 people tested positive and 22,926 were cured of the infection in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of active cases down to around 2.5 lakh. In the same period 224 people succumbed to the infection, taking the total Covid-19 death toll to 1,49,218.

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Published on January 02, 2021
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