Coronavirus vaccine in India: Centre to undertake immunisation of 1 crore frontline healthcare workers first

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At present, five vaccine candidates against the novel coronavirus are being tested in India.Coronavirus vaccine administration: Numerous coronavirus vaccine candidates have been revealing the data from their human trials and claiming to have high efficacy. With this development, India needs to solidify its vaccination strategy, which the Centre has been working on for some time now. It seems that the authorities have decided who would be given priority in terms of vaccine dosage. According to an IE report, India’s one crore frontline healthcare workers have been selected to be the first recipients of vaccination doses in the fight against coronavirus. The healthcare workers would be administered whichever vaccine becomes available in early 2021, the report added.

The report cited sources from the vaccine administration expert group as saying that the group has now gone to an advanced stage of building a database of the priority group which will receive the first doses, i.e., the frontline workers in the healthcare system. This would be done if and when a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 is approved by the regulatory authorities in India.

Sources were quoted as saying that the states have given substantial responses to the Centre, with 92% of the government hospitals across all states having provided them with the data, with which they have been able to determine the number of frontline healthcare workers to be around one crore.

This process of the creation of the database was done ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with the chief ministers of all states on Tuesday on the administration of vaccines.

This would be the largest immunisation drive and its backend preparations coincide with the time that the Centre is expecting to receive and utilise as many as 40 to 50 crore doses of coronavirus vaccine in a bid to cover 20 to 25 crore people by July next year.

According to the report, states have informed the expert group in detail about the different categories of frontline workers, including AYUSH doctors, allopathic doctors, nurses in hospitals, ANMs (Auxiliary Nurse Midwifery) as well as ASHA workers. Within this main group of frontline healthcare workers, however, there would be no prioritisation, and once the vaccination of frontline health workers begins, all the one crore people would be covered under it.

For the training and implementation of this immunisation drive, medicine and nursing students as well as faculty members would be involved, the report added.

At present, five vaccine candidates against the novel coronavirus are being tested in India, including the vaccine by Oxford-AstraZeneca, Bharat Biotech, Zydus Cadila, Sputnik-V from Russia and Biological E. These vaccines are in various stages of testing, with Oxford-AstraZeneca having completed the enrollment process for Phase 3 trials, and Bharat Biotech having just begun Phase 3. Meanwhile, Russia’s Sputnik-V has begun Phase 2/3 trials, and Zydus Cadila has completed Phase 2. Biological E is in the early Phase 1/2 trial.

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