COVID-19 vaccines to be given from Jan 16 in India

Priority will be given to healthcare workers and frontline workers, estimated to be around 3 crore

Those above 50 years and the under-50 population groups with co-morbid conditions will be next in line after frontline and health workers | Representative Photo: iStock

The COVID-19 vaccination drive in India, the biggest anywhere in the world, will begin from next Saturday (January 16), the government said today (January 9).

Priority for vaccination will be given to healthcare workers and frontline workers, estimated to be around 3 crore, followed by those above 50 years and the under-50 population group with co-morbid conditions, numbering around 27 crore, the government said in a release.

Earlier this month, India approved the restricted emergency use of two vaccines: Covishield (being produced by Serum Institute) and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin. While Covishield has an efficacy of 70 per cent, Covaxin is still in its Phase-3 trials.


The government said that the vaccination will begin after the forthcoming festivals of Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Pongal, Magh Bihu.

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The government said Prime Minister Narendra Modi today chaired a high-level meeting with senior officials to review the status of COVID-19 in the country along with the preparedness of states and UTs for the vaccination. Modi took a detailed and comprehensive review of the status of COVID-19 management covering various issues during the meeting.

The release said the vaccination exercise will be held by principles of people participation and utilising experience of elections (booth strategy) and Universal Immunization Program (UIP). It said there’ll be no compromise of existing healthcare services, especially national programs and primary healthcare; no compromise on scientific and regulatory norms, other SOPs; and an orderly and smooth implementation driven by technology.

According to the government release, the prime minister was also apprised about the Co-WIN Vaccine Delivery Management System and the three phases of dry-runs of vaccination conducted across the country.

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Co-WIN, the release said, is an unique digital platform that’ll provide real time information of vaccine stocks, their storage temperature and individualized tracking of beneficiaries of the COVID-19 vaccine. “This platform will assist the program managers across all levels through automated session allocation for pre-registered beneficiaries, their verification and for generating a digital certificate upon successful completion of the vaccine schedule. More than 79 lakh beneficiaries have been already registered on the platform,” it added.

The release said a total of 2,360 participants were trained during the national level Training of Trainers which comprised state immunization officers, cold chain officers, IEC officials, development partners etc. More than 61,000 programme managers, 2 lakh vaccinators and 3.7 lakh other vaccination team members have been trained so far as part of trainings at states, districts and block levels, the government said.

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