Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said today that the country is in the final stages of preparation for the rollout of the Covid vaccine, which will be administered to 30 crore people. A second countrywide dry run for vaccination will be held tomorrow from which a few states, which had undergone it earlier, will be exempt.
"Based on the quantity of doses, it is not possible to vaccinate all the people simultaneously. Hence, priority groups were decided," the minister said.
"From healthcare workers to municipal workers -- all such people are part of priority groups. This is 3 crore in total. After that, 27 crore people will get vaccinated," he added. This 27 crore people are the third group -- those above the age of 50 years and those below 50 who have co-morbidities like diabetes, hypertension and other chronic conditions.
Serum Institute chief Adar Poonawalla had earlier told NDTV that the government has agreed to buy 10 crore (100 million) doses at a price of Rs 200 per dose. But the final price may vary after last-minute negotiations, sources had indicated.
The government is yet to decide on a date to begin the mass vaccination. But the health ministry has said the Covid-19 vaccines -- approved by the country's drug regulator on Sunday -- will be ready for rollout in 10 days from the emergency use authorization date, based on feedback from the dry run.
"We had done the dry run first in four states -- Punjab, Assam, Gujarat and Punjab. We took in those feedbacks and made improvements accordingly. Then we did an all-India dry run across 125 districts on January 2," Dr Harsh Vardhan said.
Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh will skip this round of dry-run.
The minister said there is already an apparatus for transportation of vaccines. "We consulted states and filled gaps to strengthen it for Covid-19 vaccine cold chain," he added.
The number of fresh COVID-19 cases in India increased by 20,346 since yesterday, to reach 1,03,95,278. The number of deaths in the past 24 hours increased by 222 to touch 1,50,336.