Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the nationwide Covid vaccination drive at 10.30 AM on Saturday through video-conference, the government said today. Some three lakh health workers will receive shots on the first day of one of the world's biggest vaccination efforts.
The vaccination drive will begin with 3,006 sites that will be virtually connected during the weekend launch. Each centre will inoculate 100 people a day.
"This vaccination programme is based on the principles of priority groups to be vaccinated, and healthcare workers both in the government and private sectors will receive the vaccine during this phase," an official statement said.
The vaccination drive will use Co-WIN, an online digital platform developed by the Health Ministry to facilitate real-time information of vaccine stocks, storage temperature and tracking of vaccine recipients.
A 24x7 hotline - 1075 - has also been set up to address questions related to the vaccine rollout.
As the program progresses, the number of sites will be ramped up to 5,000 and more. Vaccines have been allotted to states based on their healthcare workers' data.
Batches of Covishield, the Oxford vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, and Bharat Biotech's homegrown Covaxin, have been flown to 12 cities for the first phase of vaccination. The vaccines are kept under armed guard.
Officials have hinted that recipients will not be given a choice between Covishield and Covaxin and there won't be any mixing of vaccines at any center.
The government aims to vaccinate 30 crore high-risk people over the next few months. After health and other frontline workers, about 2.7 crore people above 50 are expected to get vaccine shots.
The government has set a time frame to complete the registration of frontline workers for vaccination by January 25.
The government has bought 110 lakh doses of Covishield at Rs 200 per dose to start with. 55 lakh doses of Covaxin have also been procured.
India has 1,05,12,093 coronavirus cases and has recorded 1,51,727 deaths since the pandemic broke out a year ago.