Prime Minister Modi is set to launch the nationwide Covid-19 vaccination drive on Saturday at 10.30am via video conference. A total of three lakh people will receive the vaccination shots on the first day.
Over 3,000 sites across all states and UTs will be virtually connected during the launch. About 100 beneficiaries will be vaccinated at each site on the inaugural day.
The first to get the shots will be 30 million health workers and other frontline workers, followed by about 270 million people who are above 50 years of age. The government aims to vaccinate 300 million high-risk people over the next few months.
The Union Health Ministry has advised states not to organise "unreasonable numbers of vaccination per site per day".
According to the guidelines issued to the shortlisted vaccination centres, healthcare workers (those registered in Co-WIN to be vaccinated) on the launch shall include not only doctors, nurses but also nursing orderlies, safai karamcharis, ambulance drivers, and would be from a mixed age group, including above 50 years.
"States have been advised to organise vaccination sessions taking into account 10 percent reserve/wastage doses and an average of 100 vaccinations per session each day. "Therefore, any undue haste on the part of states to organise unreasonable numbers of vaccination per site per day is not advised," the ministry said on Wednesday.
The vaccination programme will use the Co-WIN (COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network) App, a digital platform created for real-time monitoring of COVID-19 vaccine delivery and distribution.
A dedicated 24x7 call centre – 1075 – has also been established for addressing the queries related to COVID-19 pandemic, vaccine rollout and the Co-WIN software.
The health ministry said, "The massive countrywide COVID-19 vaccination drive will be rolled out by Prime Minister from January 16. This would be the world’s largest immunisation exercise. Therefore, it has been decided by the Ministry of Health in consultation with the office of the President of India to reschedule the Polio vaccination day, also known as the National Immunisation Day (NID) or 'Polio Ravivar’ to 31st January."
Batches of Covishield, the Oxford vaccine being manufactured by Serum Institute of India, and Bharat Biotech's homegrown Covaxin, have been flown to 12 cities for the first phase of vaccination.