India’s COVID-19 Vaccination Drive

With talks of the Covid-19 vaccine catching wind and spreading like wildfire, everyone wishes to be first in line at getting vaccinated against a disease that entrapped much of 2020. The Union Health Minister said that India could well have its answer to the vaccine available through a vaccination drive in January 2021. Stating the importance of administering the vaccine and the pandemonium it may lead to, as this vaccine promises to puncture a threat that has loomed over our heads for months now, the health minister assured us that safety and the efficacy of the vaccine stand to be the government’s prime priority.

Harsh Vardhan, the Union Health minister quoted, “I personally feel may be in January in any stage or any week, there can be a time when we can be in a position to give first Covid vaccine shot to people of India.”

Who will receive the Vaccine when it is available?

The question which has been on a lot of minds ever since whispers about the vaccine caught wind has been, “who will get the vaccine first?”

To answer this and several other queries people might have, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has answered most of the public queries in the form of FAQs.

The answer to the most asked question regarding the reception of the vaccine is that the vaccine will be offered first to the healthcare workers, frontline workers, and persons above the age of 50. This will be depending upon the epidemiology and vaccine’s availability, and the remaining population will be vaccinated later on.

Approximately 1 crore healthcare workers, healthcare providers and workers in the healthcare arena and about 2 crore frontline workers like central and state police force, armed forces and home guards, disaster management volunteers and municipal workers and about 27 crore of the population above the age of 50 and persons below 50 with associated co-morbidities will be prioritised first.

How to register for the Covid-19 vaccine?

The implementation of the vaccine has been made a voluntary process and people can opt to vaccinate themselves if they wish to.

A digitalised platform – COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network (Co-WIN) will be used to track the beneficiaries for vaccination on a real-time basis. Only those beneficiaries who have pre-registered themselves on the vaccination site will be vaccinated on a priority basis and there will be no provisions whatsoever for any on-the-spot registrations.

There are several Vaccine guidelines also issued to ensure that the vaccines are not tampered with in any form.

Guidelines for the Vaccine

The guideline asks state governments to allocate the vaccine from one manufacturer to a district in order to avoid mixing of several vaccines in the field. There are also specific guidelines that speak about measures to be taken in order to avoid exposing the vaccine carrier, vaccine vials, or ice packs that store the vaccine to direct sunlight, as it may dilute or adversely affect the vaccine.

The health ministry also strongly advocated the “One needle, one syringe, only one-time” policy and enforced policies for the safe disposal of used injections.

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