Prime Minister Narendra Modi will likely inaugurate the country's vaccination drive against the coronavirus through video conferencing, sources said. The inoculation campaign, billed as the world's largest, is scheduled to start from January 16.
PM Modi will likely virtually interact with health workers at some locations on the day of the launch of the vaccine drive, sources said, adding select hospitals in states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi have been asked to make preparations.
Health and frontline workers at Delhi's Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital - one of the country's biggest Covid hospitals - will get vaccinated first. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and minister Satyendar Jain will attend the inaugural event.
The country's drug regulator has approved Covishield, the Oxford vaccine being manufactured by Serum Institute of India, and Bharat Biotech's homegrown Covaxin for restricted emergency use.
According to the Health Ministry, 110 lakh doses of Covishield are being procured at Rs 200 per dose (excluding taxes). 55 lakh doses of Covaxin are also being procured.
Shipping of both the vaccines has started, and many states have received consignments for the January 16 rollout.
Nearly 30 crore people will be vaccinated in the first phase of the drive. The three-crore health and frontline workers will get the vaccines first, followed by other high-risk groups like people above the age of 50 years and those with co-morbidities.
PM Modi last week chaired a meeting with the Chief Ministers of all states and union territories, and later said the centre will bear the vaccination cost of health and frontline workers. He also underscored that politicians should not jump the queue to take the vaccine but wait for their turn.