On January 8, the government announced that it will start the Covid-19 vaccination drive in the country from January 16. The statement came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the Covid-19 situation in a meeting with senior officials to review the pandemic situation in the country.
Who will get it first?
According to the government statement, nearly 3 crore healthcare and frontline workers will be given priority in Covid-19 vaccination drive. This will include around one crore healthcare workers and two crore frontline staff, like doctors, community health workers and police, who are directly involved in fighting the pandemic.
Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan had said that the vaccine will be free of cost for the frontline workers.
The next priority group will be people over 50, followed by those under 50 but with co-morbidities – around 30 crore people are expected to be vaccinated in the first phase.
What will CoWIN app do?
On January 5, the government said its CoWIN app (short for Covid Vaccine Intelligence Network) and its ecosystem will help in managing the massive vaccination drive.
The app has not been launched as of now, however, it will require Aadhaar numbers to authenticate vaccine beneficiaries and send text messages - in at least 12 languages - with details of vaccination date and time.
Dr Suneela Garg, a member of the Delhi Covid task force also mentioned that the app will auto-populate data for citizens over 50 from electoral rolls. If there is a problem with the data, the individual can approach the district or block officer to register themselves. Dr Garg added that those below 50 could upload medical certificates to establish co-morbidities and secure a vaccination appointment.
Once the app is launched for the general public, there will be three registration options - self, individual (an official will help in uploading data) and bulk upload.
What else was discussed at the meet?
PM Modi took a detailed and comprehensive review of the status of Covid management in the country. Emergency Use Authorisation or Accelerated Approval has been granted by the National Regulator for two vaccines (Covishield and Covaxin) which have established safety and immunogenicity.
PM Modi was also briefed about the preparedness status of the Centre in close collaboration with the State and UT Governments for the rollout of the vaccine in the near future. The vaccination exercise is underpinned by the principles of people’s participation (Jan Bhagidari); utilizing the experience of elections (booth strategy) and Universal Immunization Program (UIP); no compromise of existing healthcare services, especially national programs and primary health care; no compromise on scientific and regulatory norms, other SOPs; and an orderly and smooth implementation driven by technology.
With PTI inputs
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine