COVID-19 vaccination drive set to begin today; will be 'beginning of end' of pandemic, says Harsh Vardhan
On the eve of the vaccine rollout, Harsh Vardhan reviewed the preparations and visited the dedicated COVID -19 control room set up in premises of the health ministry
The Centre and state governments are set to carry out the world's biggest COVID-19 vaccination programme on Saturday (16 January) for three lakh healthcare workers. The Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said that the extensive exercise is "probably the beginning of the end of COVID-19 " in the country.
A total of 3,006 session sites across the country will be virtually connected during the launch at 10.30 am by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The government has said that around 100 people will receive jabs at each of the vaccination sites on Saturday.
On Friday, Modi tweeted that the country will enter a "decisive phase" against the pandemic.
On the eve of the rollout, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan reviewed the preparations and visited the dedicated COVID -19 control room set up at the Nirman Bhawan premises of the health ministry.
He said, "Tomorrow is an important day...it is the last phase of the battle against coronavirus . I say, this is probably the beginning of the end of COVID now which is going to start tomorrow." However, he cautioned that despite the vaccination drive, there should not be any complacency and urged people to follow COVID-19 appropriate behaviour.
A day ahead of the vaccination drive, the country's total caseload rose to 1,05,27,683 with 15,590 new cases reported in 24 hours. Recoveries also rose to 1,01,62,738 in the same span of time, the Union health ministry said. The country's toll also rose to 1,51,918 with 191 new fatalities.
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government said that schools will reopen for Classes 5 to 8 from 27 January after remaining closed for over 10 months. The BMC, however, said that schools and colleges in Mumbai will stay shut "till further orders".
COVID-19 vaccination drive to kick off across country tomorrow
Sudhir Bhandari, the principal of Jaipur's Sawai Man Singh (SMS) Medical College, will be the first person in Rajasthan to be given the COVID-19 vaccine shot, while in Madhya Pradesh, a hospital security guard and an attender will be among the first to get the jab.
Around three lakh healthcare workers, both in government and the private sector, will be given the COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday. The vaccination drive has been planned in a phased manner, identifying priority groups.
Health minster Vardhan said India's exercise to vaccinate its population against COVID-19 shall be the largest immunisation drive of the world.
He reiterated that both the indigenously manufactured vaccines, Covishield by Serum Institute of India and COVAXIN of Bharat Biotech, have proven safety and immunogenicity records and are the most important tools to contain the pandemic.
An online digital platform CoWIN, developed by the health ministry, will be used to drive the vaccination programme.
Adequate doses of both Covishield and Covaxin have already been delivered to all states and Union territories, the health ministry said.
A dedicated 24x7 call centre — 1075 — has also been set up for addressing queries related to the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccine roll-out and the Co-WIN software.
According to the government, the shots will be offered first to an estimated one crore healthcare workers, and around two crore frontline workers, and then to persons above 50 years of age, followed by persons younger than 50 years of age with associated comorbidities.
Cost of vaccination of healthcare and frontline workers will be borne by the central government. All states and union territories are geared up for the inoculation programme.
In Delhi, the drive will kick off from the state-run LNJP Hospital with a simple ceremony in the presence of Chief Minister Kejriwal and Health Minister Satyendar Jain.
A trio of a doctor, nurse and a sanitation worker will receive COVID-19 vaccine shots in the presence of Kejriwal at LNJP Hospital.
The 81 sites named in the National Capital for administering the jabs include six central government facilities like AIIMS, Safdarjung Hospital, RML Hospital and Kalawati Saran Children Hospital and two ESI hospitals.
In Gujarat, medical superintendents of government hospitals in Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar will be among the first to get the shots in the sttae, where over 16,000 health workers will be vaccinated during the day.
In Assam, an estimated 6,500 people of the 1.9 lakh health workers will be vaccinated on the first day. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal will inaugurate the drive at Assam Medical College Hospital, Dibrugarh and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital.
Former vice chancellor of Srimanta Sankardeva University of Health Sciences, Dr Umesh Chandra Sarma, will be the first to receive the initial dose in Assam.
The other doctors to be vaccinated are Padma Shri awardee and surgeon Dr Ilias Ali, Sahitya Akademi awardee and former principal of Barpeta Medical College and Hospital Dr Dhrubajyoti Borah, GMCH principal Dr Achyut Baishya and its superintendent Dr Abhijeet Sharma.
In Mumbai, as many as 4,000 health workers will be administered COVID-19 vaccine every day at nine vaccination centres, the BMC said on Friday. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will launch the vaccination drive from a centre at Bandra Kurla Complex on Saturday.
The vaccination will start at Vile Parle-based Dr RN Cooper Hospital.
Vaccines will be administered at 40 booths in nine centres, including KEM Hospital (Parel), Sion Hospital (Sion), Cooper Hospital (Vile Parle), Nair Hospital (Mumbai Central), Bhabha Hospital (Bandra), VN Desai Hospital (Santacruz), Rajawadi Hospital (Ghatkopar), Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Hospital (Kandivali) and BKC Jumbo COVID-19 centre.
Maharashtra govt to open schools for Classes 5-8 from 27 Jan
Students from Classes 5 to 8 will start going to school across Maharashtra from 27 January.
Earlier, schools for Class 9 and 10, and junior colleges (till Class 12) had reopened in parts of the state earlier this month based on the COVID-19 situation in respective areas.
"I have informed Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray that schools can be reopened for Classes 5 to 8 from 27 January," state education minister Varsha Gaikwad said.
Local authorities including district collectors, municipal commissioners and district civil surgeons will have to assess the ground situation before taking a call on reopening schools and colleges, Gaikwad added.
"Earlier, schools for Classes 9 and 10 commenced after all teachers underwent RT-PCR tests and premises were sanitized. Similar measures will be taken before reopening schools for Classes 5 to 8," she said.
The civic body in Mumbai issued a fresh circular stating that all schools and colleges of various mediums will remain shut till further orders in view of a second wave of the virus in other countries and in some states.
Earlier, the BMC had decided to keep all schools and colleges in the city shut till 15 January.
COVID-19 caseload details
There are 2,13,027 active coronavirus infections in the country which comprise 2.02 percent of the total caseload, the data stated.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), 18,49,62,401 samples have been tested up to 14 January, with 7,30,096 samples being tested on Thursday.
The 191 new fatalities include 70 from Maharashtra, 19 from Kerala, 17 from West Bengal, 14 from Uttar Pradesh, 10 each from Chhattisgarh and Punjab, eight from Madhya Pradesh, six from Haryana, and four each from Delhi, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
A total of 1,51,918 deaths have been reported so far in the country, including 50,291 from Maharashtra, followed by12,246 from Tamil Nadu, 12,155 from Karnataka, 10,722 from Delhi, 10,010 from West Bengal, 8,543 from Uttar Pradesh, 7,138 from Andhra Pradesh and 5,473 from Punjab.
With inputs from agencies
While the rebound this year will be stronger than expected, WTO's growth forecast states it could slow to 4 percent in 2022.
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