Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair a meeting with the chief ministers of all states at 4 pm on Monday to discuss the massive coronavirus vaccination drive which is likely to begin later in January, reports said.
The meeting comes after the country’s drug regulator on Sunday approved the restricted emergency use of two COVID-19 vaccines — Covishield (developed by Oxford University and produced by the Serum Institute) and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin. The government had on January 5 said that the COVID immunisation drive will start in another 10 days.
Meanwhile, the second nationwide dry-run of inoculation process was conducted on Friday (January 8). After reviewing the dry-run at a hospital in Chennai, Union Health minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan said soon it would be a reality to vaccinate entire population in the country against COVID-19 after prioritising risk groups.
He said that the Centre has started a new COVID platform to track particulars of potential vaccine beneficiaries and also issue electronic certificates to them.
The authorities plan to inoculate around 30 crore people in the first phase of vaccination drive. These people will mostly be the priority group, including healthcare workers and the frontline workers, followed by the elderly and those with co-morbid conditions.
The vaccination process would begin amid doubts raised by several politicians with RJD leader Tej Pratap Yadav demanding that PM Modi take the first shot of the vaccine. “PM Modi should take first COVID-19 vaccine shot. Then, we will also take it,” he said.
Meanwhile, India’s aviation regulator too has issued guidelines to all the aircraft operators who plan to transport COVID-19 vaccines packed in dry ice to various parts of the country.
“All operators while engaging in transportation of COVID-19 vaccines packed with dry ice shall establish the maximum quantity of dry ice that can be loaded in a given cargo hold or in the main deck (passenger cabin) when a passenger version is deployed for all cargo operations,” the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) noted.