India prepares for 600 million COVID-19 vaccine shots

A woman holds a small bottle labelled with a

A woman holds a small bottle labelled with a "Vaccine COVID-19" sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken on 10 April 2020. Reuters/Illustration/Dado Ruvic

Staff Writer | Live Mint

ON THE WEB, 13 December 2020

As India gears up for the coronavirus vaccination drive with three vaccine candidates under regulatory review, the Union Ministry of Health has sent its operational guidelines to states and Union territories for the distribution of the vaccine as and when it becomes available.

The document, which has been shared with all states, says that only 100 people per “session” at each site per day are likely to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

However, the number of people per “session” might go up to 200 if logistics allow, the Centre noted.

“If in any case, more than 200 people are being vaccinated within a session then a whole team of 5 people will have to be deployed separately (one vaccine officer and four vaccination officers),” the draft SOP read.

The government, in a document, that explores how best to deploy the vaccine whenever it is available says that the states and union territories can fix the days for vaccination. “Conduct of the vaccination process [will be] similar to the election process,” the Health Ministry document said.

As per the government’s new SOP on Covid-19, a vaccination site should have three rooms or areas including a waiting room, vaccination room and observation room.

The Covid-19 vaccine will be first given to health care workers (1 crore), frontline workers (2 crore), and people above 50 years (26 crore). After this, vaccines will be given to those below 50 years of age who are suffering from a chronic critical illness (1 crore) (for a total of 30 crore people in phase-1 planning), according to the health ministry’s plan.

“One session for 100 beneficiaries. While most of the healthcare and frontline workers would be vaccinated at fixed session sites, vaccination of other high-risk populations may require outreach session sites, and mobile sites and teams,” it said in the document.

Based on the voter list prepared in the Lok Sabha elections and assembly elections, people above 50 years of age will be identified.

After this, the rest of the population will be given the Covid-19 vaccine, whenever it is ready for public use, based on the spread and availability of this disease.

“The beneficiaries will be tracked through a digital platform called Co-WIN. All information on this platform will be updated in real-time,” the draft SOP stated.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has earlier said that the country will look to vaccinate 250 to 300 million people against coronavirus in the first phase on priority by July next year.


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