India has taken a big target to vaccinate its 25 crore people against the deadly corona virus by July 2021. This will be done under its COVID-19 vaccine programme, as per the Union health minister Harsh Vardhan.
Vardhan said on Sunday that “The Centre is working on plans for building capacities in human resources, training, supervision, and others on a massive scale and roughly estimates to receive and utilise 200-500 million doses covering approximately 20-25 crore people by July 2021. All this is under various stages of finalisation.”
The minister added “Our government is working round the clock to ensure that there is a fair and equitable distribution of vaccines, once they are ready. Our utmost priority is how to ensure the vaccine for each and everybody in the country.”
During an interaction with his social media followers on “Sunday Smavad” platform, he said the high-level expert group is going into all the aspects of vaccines and the health ministry is preparing a format in which states will group by October. The minister also highlighted that the first priority would be given to health workers; engaged in COVID-19 management in getting the vaccine.
The list of frontline health workers will include both government as well as private-sector doctors, nurses, paramedics, sanitary staff; ASHA workers, surveillance officer, and many other occupational categories who are involved in tracing, testing; and treatment of patients.
This exercise is targeted to be completed by the end of this October; and the states are being loosely guided to also submit details about cold chain facilities; and other related infrastructure which will be required down to the block level; as per the minister. He further informed his audience that the government is also keeping; an eye on immunity data concerning COVID-19 disease while finalising these plans.
Vardhan said “Our government is working round the clock to ensure that there is a fair; and equitable distribution of vaccines; once they are ready. Our utmost priority is how to ensure a vaccine for each and everybody in the country.” He also stated that a high-level committee under the chairmanship; of Niti Aayog Member (Health) Dr. V K Paul is drawing up the entire process.
Vaccine procurement is being done centrally; and each consignment will be tracked real-time until delivery to ensure it; reaches those who need it most, he said.
The Union health minister added the panel is working on understanding the timeline of availability of various vaccines in the country; obtaining commitments from the vaccine manufacturers to make available the maximum number of doses for India; inventory and supply chain management; and also on prioritisation of high-risk groups.
Assuring a social media follower that there would be no diversion or black-marketing of the vaccine; Vardhan said, “Vaccines will be distributed as per pre-decided priority and in a programmed manner. To ensure transparency and accountability; details of the entire process will be shared in the coming months.”
He stressed on the need to prioritise healthcare workers; and adults or those who have underlying health conditions in India.