COVID vaccination can start in 10 days, says health ministry

Phase I of the drive will focus on healthcare workers, emergency service employees and the elderly

COVID-19
The Centre recently allowed 50 per cent of the country's vaccine supply to be sold to states and in the open market while reserving the other half for itself. Representative photo: iStock

The government on Tuesday (January 5) announced that the COVID immunisation drive will start in the next 10 days.

Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said at a press conference, “Since the approvals for vaccines have been granted, the vaccine drive can be rolled out within 10 days from that day (the day of first approval on January 3).”

The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), which is the final approval authority, gave its nod to AstraZeneca’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for emergency use two days ago.

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Phase I of the vaccination drive will focus on healthcare workers, emergency service employees, people with co-morbid conditions and the elderly.

How will the vaccine reach you?

Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan explained the process of vaccines travelling from manufacturers to the beneficiaries.

First, the manufacturers will air parcel the vaccines to government medical depots in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Karnal in Haryana.

The government medical depots will then transport the jabs to 37 state vaccine stores, which in turn will hand them over to district vaccine stores. The last point of collection will be the primary health care centres (PHCs), which have been designated as the Covid-19 immunisation centres.

Currently, India has 29,000 cold chain points where the approved vaccines Covishield and Covaxin can be stored safely.

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