Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to kick off virtual launch of the pan-India vaccination drive on January 16. The prime minister will also officially launch the Co-WIN app on the same day. Earlier on Monday, the government had placed firm orders in advanced commitments for over six crore doses of COVID vaccines from Serum Institue of India and Bharat Biotech, for inoculating three crore healthcare and frontline workers in the first phase of the vaccination drive scheduled to start from January 16. The cost is Rs 1,300 crore.
Interacting with chief ministers on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi underscored the enormity of what he called the world's biggest vaccination exercise.
Over 30 crore citizens will get the jabs in the next few months in India against only 2.5 crore people vaccinated so far in over 50 countries in around a month, he said.
Meanwhile, health experts working at several Delhi-NCR hospitals have termed the vaccination drive as a great achievement and are hopeful of a positive outcome.
The experts said that India has experienced a massive vaccination drive but there is a need to ensure the proper arrangements for a smooth vaccination drive which will help in removing the fear of COVID-19.
Dr. Shuchin Bajaj, Founder and Director, Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals, New Delhi said that country is looking forward to vaccinating about 300 million people by the end of August.
"Vaccination in India is expected to start from January 16. We all know it is a humongous exercise but good thing is that we are used to massive vaccination drives especially as part of our Indradhanush scheme. We also witnessed a polio vaccination program, where millions of volunteers and healthcare workers used to vaccinate children every polio Sunday. We do have the experience to that but we are looking forward to vaccinating about 300 million people by the end of August," Dr. Shuchin said.
In India, AstraZeneca-Oxford's Covishield vaccine, made by the Serum Institute of India, and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin vaccine have been approved by regulatory authorities.
"It is a massive exercise no doubt but it will be helped by our good network of healthcare providers. In the beginning, only two types of vaccines will be available in India. The Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is an adenovirus vaccine, whereas, the Bharat Biotech vaccine is an inactivated virus vaccine. They have a good efficacy rate of 60 per cent, which is more than the World Health Organisation (WHO) mandatory rate of 50 per cent, So, hopefully, they will have a good outcome. I would urge all to register themselves and get vaccinated as in when their turns come and the government communicates with you," Dr. Bajaj said.
Dr. P Venkata Krishnan, Senior Consultant- Internal Medicine, Paras Hospital, Gurugram said India is leading the process of vaccine development all over the world and it is soon going to become the hub of the COVID vaccine for the entire world.