New Delhi, Jan 2 (IANS) As India gears up to launch the world’s largest immunisation drive, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday said that one crore healthcare workers and two crore frontline workers would be given free vaccine in the first phase of the inoculation drive.
“In the first phase of vaccination, free vaccine will be provided across the nation to most prioritised beneficiaries that include one crore healthcare and 2 crore frontline workers,” Vardhan said in a tweet.
He, however, added, that the details of how the remaining 27 crore priority beneficiaries will be vaccinated till July is getting finalised.
The central government plans to vaccinate nearly 30 crore persons in the first phase of the immunisation drive. The vaccine will be administered to one crore healthcare workers, along with 2 crore frontline and essential workers, and 27 crore elderly, mostly above the age of 50 with comorbidities.
The comment is significant, given the fact that India has recorded the second highest numbers of corona infections after the United States.
Earlier in the day, the Health Minister had said that the vaccine will be free across the country. “Not just in Delhi, it will be free across the country,” Vardhan said when asked for the government’s position on the issue.
Notably, the coronavirus vaccine is slated to be rolled out soon as the one developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca has been recommended by an expert panel, tasked with vetting Covid-19 vaccine proposals, and forwarded to the Drug Controller General of India for approval.
On Saturday, authorities were conducting a mega drill at 259 sites in all states and union territories to help officials practise how to manage vaccine supply, storage and logistics, including cold chain management.