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News Entry# 433231
Jan 14 (08:17) India’s Covid-19 vaccine drive to kick off at 3,000 sites on Sat (

News Entry# 433231  Blog Entry# 4844196   
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ndia's vaccination drive against Covid-19 will be launched at around 3,000 sites on January 16 and the number of sites will be ramped up to 5,000 by the end of the month.

Each site will have an average of around 100 recipients on the first day though the number may vary across states depending on the enrolment of healthcare workers and time taken to administer shots, official sources said.

"We will start with 3,000 sites and go up to 5,000 sites over the next two weeks. Our aim is to further increase this number to 12,000 or even more by March as the programme stabilises and supplies improve. This is a dynamic process and at this stage our focus is to ensure that everything remains smooth so that people gain confidence," the official said.

In order to avoid any confusion, only one brand of vaccine — either Covishield or Covaxin — will be made available at a particular site. Depending on the availability and logistics, the state government will decide which vaccine goes to which site.

"This will ensure that beneficiaries are inoculated with the same brand when they come back for the second dose and this is crucial. Besides, it will also help avoid any situation of conflict by not giving options to choose from the two approved brands," the official said. Information relating to vaccination will be recorded on Co-WIN — the IT platform being used for implementation and monitoring of the immunisation exercise.

Each vaccination site will be manned by a team of around five members, including one vaccinator. "We have asked the state government and district and block-level administrators to ensure that all the SOPs are very scrupulously followed and implemented," a health ministry official said.

The drug regulator has granted emergency-use approval to Oxford University/AstraZeneca's Covishield — being locally manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) — and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin based on safety and immunogenicity data. The government has said both the vaccines have been tested on thousands of patients and are safe.

Bharat Biotech, which had initially signed an agreement to supply 55 lakh doses of Covaxin for the programme, said on Wednesday that it has shipped the shots to 11 cities — Gannavaram, Guwahati, Patna, Delhi, Kurukshetra, Bengaluru, Pune, Bhubaneswar, Jaipur, Chennai and Lucknow.

SII will supply around 110 lakh doses of Covishield as of now and the consignee list includes around 60 locations across the country. The health ministry said the supply orders will be placed in a staggered manner to ensure smooth supply.

The government is expecting to administer at least the first dose of the vaccine to all healthcare workers, estimated at one crore, over the next two months and start with frontline workers too. "We should be able to complete three crore healthcare and frontline workers over next three months," the official said.

The government has indicated that the vaccination programme may continue for up to a year or even more.
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