30 million frontline workers to get coronavirus vaccine first
New Delhi : As soon as a vaccine against coronavirus arrives, India has planned to vaccinate around 30 million frontline workers in the first phase, Union health ministry officials said on Tuesday.
30 million frontline workers include 7 million doctors and paramedics, in addition to 20 million other frontline health workers, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said on the sidelines of a Covid-19 media briefing on Tuesday.
The infrastructure to vaccinate these people is already in place. “We have the cold chain, vials, syringes and everything,” he added.
The first phase of vaccination has been tentatively scheduled between January and June 2021.
“In the deliberations of the national expert committee on vaccine administration we have come up with a draft prioritisation plan. We have also tried to match the numbers which have come from this draft plan to the number of doses that would become available from tentatively January to July 2021. And we think if the present trials proceeded according to plan, and succeed, then the number of doses that will become available from January to July 2021 would be sufficient to immunize the priority list persons. That we are working on…,” said Bhushan.
He also mentioned that people will have to live with coronavirus for a longer time even if a vaccine is launched. No one can afford to let his/her guard down.
“The same precautions (against the disease) will have to be continued even after the Covid-19 vaccine is developed. We have to remain cautious... we have to test, treat and isolate for a good time. The requirement for this may gradually reduce over time, but there is no scope for relaxation,” said Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) chief Dr Balram Bhargava.