Health Ministry all prepared to roll out Covid-19 vaccine, first shots likely on January 13

The Union Health Ministry has said it is prepared to roll out COVID-19 vaccine within about a week. Reports say that inoculation could begin from January 13. However, a final decision on the launch date is yet to be taken. According to Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, based on the feedback from the dry-run of vaccination drive, the ministry is ready to introduce vaccine within 10 days from the date of emergency use authorisation.The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) had on Sunday approved Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country.While registration has been made mandatory, healthcare and frontline workers need not register themselves for the vaccination drive as their database has been uploaded on the Co-WIN vaccine delivery management system in a bulk. The provision of registration and editing of data would arise while immunising the population priority group.”There is no need for beneficiary registration of healthcare and frontline workers as their information will be taken from a bulk database that has been populated onto the CO-WIN Vaccine Delivery Management System,” Union health secretary Bhushan said.On the two vaccines that have been granted approval for restricted emergency use by the DCGI, NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul reiterated that all scientific and statutory requirements have been met and regulatory norms followed while granting permission and authorisation. According to Department of Biotechnology Secretary Renu Swarup, the vaccines will have to be stored at 2-8 degrees Celsius as the logistics have been worked out while considering temperature as a factor.The Health ministry said that vaccines will be transported under refrigerated condition and digitally tracked during transit. The government has set a target to have enough vaccines by July to cover at least 30 crore prioritised people.

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