On Day One, Covid Vaccination To Be Held At Fewer Sites

COVID-19 Vaccination: The decision was taken at a meeting today between state immunisation officials and the Central representatives who made the suggestion.

On Day One, Covid Vaccination To Be Held At Fewer Sites

India COVID Vaccination: The rollout of coronavirus vaccines is scheduled for January 16.

New Delhi:

Coronavirus vaccine will be administered in fewer sites than originally decided, at least for the opening day, officials have told NDTV. The reason, they said, could be technical. In Punjab, the number of these sites has been reduced from 110 to 59 for the opening day. Assam has been asked to reduce the number of sites from 74 to 59, sources said. Delhi's vaccination sites have been cut down from 89 to 75.

"The Centre asked us to reduce the vaccine centres. Now we have reduced it from 511 to 350. The Centre said, 'Don't be in haste'," Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope said. In Mumbai, the number of sites have been reduced from 72 to 50. The numbers have been slashed in Pune also, now vaccination will take place only in 39 sites.

A reduction in vaccination Centres would mean fewer people getting vaccinated.  On Day One, 35,000 people will get vaccinated in Maharashtra , Mr Tope said. The authorities are hoping to finish the vaccination of 30 crore people belonging to high-risk groups within six months to achieve a critical mass of vaccinated people.  

The decision to reduce the number of sites was taken at a meeting today between state immunisation officials and the Central representatives.

The vaccination was scheduled to take place through government hospitals -- there was to be 4,895 sites across the country.

The meeting was also meant to discuss how the doses have to be given to hospitals run by the Central government, like military hospitals and AIIMS.  The required cold supply chain has been one of the challenges for the delivery system, especially in the rural areas.

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The rollout of the vaccines is scheduled for January 16. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to inaugurate the drive. Sources said he is also likely to interact with few health workers through video conference.

Starting January 16, one crore health workers and two crore frontline workers – including the police,  civil defence personnel and sanitation workers – will be administered the vaccine.

Besides, 27 crore people who are also among the high-risk groups – people over the age of 50 and those with co-morbidities like diabetes, high blood pressure and liver disease, will also be vaccinated in the first phase.

Both Serum Institute's Covishield and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin have to be administered in two doses that will be 28 days apart.

The government has purchased 1.10 crore doses of Covishield vaccine from the Serum Institute of India and will acquire another 4.50 crore doses by April.