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First Covid vaccine shot may be less than 10 days away

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 05, 2021

Covishield, Covaxin will be launched simultaneously, says ICMR chief

India will begin rolling out the Covid-19 vaccine in less than 10 days. “The vaccination will commence within 10 days of the drugs regulator giving the accelerated approval to the Covid-19 vaccines,” Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan told a press conference here on Tuesday.

The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) gave its nod to AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine, produced and marketed by Serum Institute of India, and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin on Sunday with certain conditionalities. While Serum Institute should continue to carry out clinical trials on Covishield in the country and submit data to the regulator, the Bharat Biotech vaccine can only be used to vaccinate people after taking their informed consent as it is under clinical trials.

 

Indian Council of Medical Research Director-General Balram Bhargava told BusinessLine that both the vaccines will be launched simultaneously, clearing the air that Covishield would be the first vaccine to get off the mark.

Giving further details of the vaccine roll-out strategy, Bhushan said the vaccine doses would be airlifted from vaccine manufacturers and stored in four Government Medical Store Depots located at Chennai, Karnal, Kolkata and Mumbai. They will be subsequently moved to State and district vaccine stores using refrigerated vans. They can then be moved to session sites where actual vaccination will take place at these centres, he said.

For the first 3 crore beneficiaries, who will include healthcare personnel and frontline Covid warriors such as police, armed forces, paramilitary and municipal workers, there is no need for registration as their data are already ‘pre-populated’ or captured in the Co-WIN digital platform. The next set of 27 crore people, who will also be inoculated in the first phase, will be those above the age of 50 years or those with serious co-morbidities. They will have provisions for registration or ‘editing’ of data. District collectors will use this data to allocate beneficiaries session sites, the Health Secretary said.

Bhushan also dispelled rumours that India will not allow export of the vaccines produced in the country saying that no such order has been issued.

Vinod Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, expressed confidence that there will be enough vaccine doses available to cover 30 crore beneficiaries in the first phase.

Published on January 05, 2021

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