Govt to cover 25 crore people with Covid vaccine by July 2021

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Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Sunday that the Centre is working on plans to procure 400-500 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine, which will be administered to up to 25 crore people by July 2021.

“Government plans to receive and utilise 400-500 million Covid-19 vaccine doses. Our target is to cover 20-25 crore people by July 2021. For that, we are building capacities in HR, training, supervision, etc, on a massive scale,” he said at his weekly webinar ‘Sunday Samvaad’.

The Minister said that a high-level committee under Niti Aayog Member, Health, V.K. Paul is drawing up the entire process. “Vaccine procurement is being done centrally and each consignment will be tracked real time until delivery to ensure it reaches those who need it most,” he said.

Harsh Vardhan said that these committees are working on understanding the timelines of availability of various vaccines in the country, obtaining commitments from their manufacturers to make available maximum number of doses for India’s inventory, on supply chain management and also on prioritisation of high-risk groups.

“This is work in progress which will be completed by the time the vaccines are ready to ensure the swift roll-out of the immunisation programme,” he said.

He also indicated that the frontline workers and those having underlying health conditions are in the top priority list of the government for vaccine administration, saying that his ministry is currently preparing a format in which states will submit lists of priority population groups to receive the vaccine, especially health workers engaged in the management of Covid-19.

“The list of frontline health workers will include both government as well as private sector doctors, nurses, paramedics, sanitary staff, ASHA workers, surveillance officers and many other occupational categories who are involved in tracing, testing and treatment of patients,” he added.

“The vaccine will be distributed as per pre-decided priority and in a programmed manner. To ensure transparency and accountability, details of the entire process will be shared in the coming months,” he said.

Harsh Vardhan also informed that the states are being closely guided to also submit details about cold chain facilities and other related infrastructure which will be required down to the block level distribution of the vaccine. “This exercise is targeted to be completed by the end of this October,” he said.