Coronavirus | Free vaccination first for 3 crore health, frontline workers

A trained healthcare worker administering COVID-19 vaccine to RMO R. Murali at the Rajiv Gandhi Women and Children's Hospital in Puducherry during the nationwide trial run on January 2, 2021.   | Photo Credit: T. Singaravelou

Free COVID vaccination will be provided to three crore health care and frontline workers in the first phase of vaccination, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Saturday while taking stock of the nation-wide vaccination dry run conducted in 125 districts across 285 sites.

The Minister added that details of 27 crore priority beneficiaries — those above 50 years of age and those below it having comorbidities — is also being finalised.


“The objective of the drive is to gear up for the roll out of COVID-19 vaccine across the country. The run will also assess operational feasibility in the use of Co-WIN application in the field environment, to test the linkages between planning and implementation and to identify the challenges and guide way forward prior to actual implementation. This is also expected to give confidence to programme managers at various levels,” he said.

Speaking about vaccine hesitancy, the Minister said that isn’t a new phenomenon.

“It was there even when we started the polio immunisation drive but we must remember its success. I appeal to the people not to be misguided by rumours regarding safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine. We will not compromise on any protocol before approving a vaccine. The planning for the vaccine introduction will be as per the Operational Guidelines issued by the Ministry,” he said.


Calling the digital platform, Co-WIN, repurposed from the e-VIN platform to be a real game changer, the Minister also explained that this platform will provide real time information of vaccine stocks, their storage temperature and individualized tracking of beneficiaries of the COVID-19 vaccine.

He added that this platform will assist the programme managers across all levels through automated session allocation for pre-registered beneficiaries, their verification and for generating a digital certificate upon successful completion of the vaccine schedule.

“More than 75 lakh beneficiaries have been registered on Co-WIN platform till date,” Dr Vardhan said while stressing India’s preparedness for ensuring that the vaccine reaches even the remotest corner of the country.

“The country’s cold chain infrastructure has been sufficiently upgraded to ensure last mile delivery. Adequate supplies of syringes and other logistics have also been provided for. India has conducted several successful immunization drives with respect to polio, rubella and measles,’’ he said.

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 3:48:36 PM |

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