India readies for mega Covid vaccine rollout; phase 1 targets 300 million

After getting the vaccine, the beneficiary will have to remain at the session site for 30 minutes to monitor for any adverse event
As India prepares for the world's largest immunisation exercise, the much sought after Covid-19 vaccine will be made available to various groups in order of priority. The vaccine will, however, be voluntary.

The government is currently sifting through the latest electoral roll for the Lok Sabha and legislative assemblies to identify the population aged 50 years or more.

While this group is among the first in line for the vaccine, after health care and frontline workers, the government may give priority to those above 60 years of age based on the availability of the vaccine. The government will be announcing the website on which all potential beneficiaries will be asked to register.

The first tranche of vaccination would cover 300 million people: 10 million health care workers in both public and private space; 20 million frontline workers including armed forces, police personnel, disaster management volunteers and municipal workers. The remaining 270 million will include people above 50 years of age and those below 50 with co-morbidities. 

One session of vaccination will have 100 beneficiaries who will be tracked through the digital platform, COVID-19 Vaccine Intelligence Network (Co-WIN) system. The vaccine will be provided only to beneficiaries pre-registered with Co-WIN and there will be no provision for on-the-spot registration.

Co-WIN system is a cloud-based IT platform that will allow beneficiary registration, session microplanning, real-time reporting of vaccination and would also issue a vaccination certificate to all beneficiaries who receive the jab. 

Once a beneficiary is registered on the Co-Win system, the next step would be verifying their details through photo identification documents such as driving licence, PAN card, passport, pension document, voter ID, among others. The district administration will acknowledge the registration through an SMS and inform the beneficiary about the date and time of vaccination. Two doses of vaccine, three to four weeks apart, need to be taken to complete the vaccination schedule.

After getting the vaccine, the beneficiary will have to remain at the session site for 30 minutes to monitor for any adverse event or side effects that might occur. 

A committee of experts is drawing up the criteria to prioritise those with co-morbidities such as hypertension, diabetes, HIV, cancer, cardiovascular or chronic disease.

Guidance for the next category of priority group will be announced by the national expert group on vaccine administration as part of the phase two rollout.

“Information on the Phase 2 rollout, registration process and details about where and when of the vaccination sessions will be provided closer to the implementation period,” a health ministry document said.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday chaired a high-level meeting to review the preparedness at various session sites of the country for the vaccine trial run on January 2.

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