Only 100 people per "session" are likely to be vaccinated against COVID-19, the centre has said in a document that explores how best to deploy the vaccine whenever it is available. The number of people per "session" may go up to 200 if logistics allow, the government has said. It said states and union territories can fix the days for vaccination. "Conduct of the vaccination process [will be] similar to the election process," the Health Ministry said in the document, "COVID-19 Vaccines Operational Guidelines".
"Anticipating that COVID-19 vaccine may soon be available, GoI (government of India) is preparing for its introduction in the country so that it can be expeditiously rolled out when available. One of the milestones in this direction has been the constitution of a National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC). The NEGVAC guides on all aspects of COVID-19 vaccine introduction in India," the Health Ministry said.
"One session for 100 beneficiaries. While most of the healthcare and frontline workers would be vaccinated at fixed session sites, vaccination of other high-risk population may require outreach session sites, and mobile sites and teams," it said in the document.
A vaccination team will have five members - a main officer helped by four others. The main person will be a doctor, nurse, pharmacist or anyone legally qualified to give injection. The second officer will be for security, who will check user registration and guard the entry point at the vaccination session. The third officer will verify documents, while the fourth and fifth officers will be responsible for crowd management and communication, according to the Home Ministry's document.
The 112-page document also contains details about training vaccine workers and keeping logistics in place. The vaccines would need cold storage units to keep them in usable condition.
Serum Institute of India, the world's largest vaccine maker, is mass producing and stockpiling AstraZeneca's Covishield shot, while other Indian biotech players Bharat Biotech and Zydus Cadila are developing their own vaccine candidates.
The government has lined up cold storage facilities with temperatures between 2 and 8 degree Celsius, said VK Paul, who heads the group of experts on vaccine administration for COVID-19 that advises Prime Minister Narendra Modi, news agency Reuters reported.
The requests for emergency use of vaccines being manufactured by Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech were not cleared earlier this week by a committee of health experts. Both companies have been asked to submit more data at the next meeting, the date of which has not yet been decided.
The final call on the suitability of the vaccine will be taken by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI).
Approvals are a long process and Wednesday's review was only the start, sources had told NDTV.