The COVID-19 vaccine situation all over the world is becoming stressful. India is witnessing a steady and continuous decrease in the new cases since mid-September. If we are waiting for something, it is no doubt the vaccination of the deadly coronavirus infection.
There is a race of vaccine supply for the common public. In this, major firms like Serum Institute of India, Pfizer Inc, and Bharat Biotech are in line to get their vaccination approved for emergency roll-out in the country. The Government of India has also confirmed that the first round of shots will be available in just a few weeks from now.
A panel of experts with the Centre’s health ministry have devised a Prioritization list keeping in mind the most vulnerable populations. So, there is a reduction in the mortality rate and in the burden on the healthcare system.
Who will be amongst the first to get the COVID-19 vaccination?
The Distribution of COVID-19 vaccine priority list:
- 1 crore healthcare workers are the top priority, including the doctors, nurses, and each and every worker in the healthcare setup. They would be amongst the first ones to get a vaccine.
- The second in line are the frontline workers(FLWs) which are almost 2 crore in number. Frontline workers include both state and central police departments, home guards, municipal workers, and disaster management volunteers coming under the civil defense organizations, and armed forces.
- After covering these groups, the panel of experts have finalized a priority group of persons above the age of 50 years and those under 50 with comorbidities. The estimated population of this category is nearly 27 crore.
Covering these priority groups first, the remaining population will get the vaccine based on the disease epidemiology and vaccine availability.
How has the COVID-19 vaccination administration data been prepared?
The panel of experts is taking reference of the latest electoral roll of Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. This is being done to check the candidates eligible for the administration of vaccination. Most importantly, the decision of the age, will be on the basis of the 1st day of January of 2021. Hence, the ones who are born on or before 1st of January, 1971, would fall under the priority list.
Moreover, the Central government has already collected the data required of the priority groups from the government and private health facilities. They have started feeding it into Co-WIN which is a digital platform which monitors COVID-19 vaccination delivery in real-time.
To avail the vaccine, the beneficiaries have to register in the CO-WIN software in advance. As of now, there is no set provision by the government for an on-the-spot registration of any individual.
What is the cold chain capacity for vaccine storage in India?
As of now, the cold chain system is capable of storing 3 Crore COVID-19 vaccines initially, for the Health Care Workers and Front Line Workers.
“Every single Indian who needs to be vaccinated will be vaccinated.” This was said by the Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan. He co-chairs the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration of Covid-19 (NEGVAC). He also adds, “When immunization commences, it can be simultaneous also depending on the availability of the vaccine. It is possible that in the first month, there is limited availability of the vaccine. But it will increase in subsequent months.”
In conclusion, remain calm. The population which does not fall under the bracket of these three groups, should not panic. Above all, NEGVAC has a panel of experts we all can rely on. Moreover, They have devised a plan to cover the remaining population in the coming months.