India has started the world's largest vaccination programme today that had incidentally been announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a virtual conference with chief ministers of all states and union territories on January 11.
After taking stock of the COVID 19 situation, the PM had discussed the vaccination roll out programme and informed that two Indian made vaccines namely Covishield and Covaxin have been given approval for emergency use. While both vaccines are cost effective, four others are on the pipeline.
The vaccine is being administered to health workers and other frontline workers in the first phase. The cost of vaccination for these people will be borne by the Central Government according to the Prime Minister. Consequently, in the course of the meeting he had also added that in the second phase, those above 50 years and those under 50 years with co morbidities shall be vaccinated. Experts have taken all precautions to provide effective vaccines to the citizens while the government has made necessary preparations for patients, if the COVID 19 vaccine shows any side-effects; the Indian PM had assured.
"The discussion and cooperation between states and the Centre has helped a lot in the fight against the virus and we have presented a good example of federalism. The COVID 19 pandemic has not spread in India in that scale, which is being seen everywhere else in the world. This has happened because government machineries have worked together during the COVID crisis. This can also be attributed to the fact that quick decisions had been taken throughout the COVID emergency," the PM had stated.
The PM in the course of the virtual meeting had also urged all states and union territories to not allow rumors to spread in relation to the vaccination programme. Corporate competition and vested interests of certain lobbies within and outside the country may be at work to fuel the rumours, he had cautioned.
Two Indian made vaccines namely Covishield and Covaxin have been granted approval for emergency useHe said that the most important factor in this vaccination drive is identification and monitoring of those who need to be vaccinated. Thus, the CoWin digital platform has been created and beneficiaries would be identified with the help of Aadhaar whilst the second dosage shall also be ensured on time. Thus, he stressed the significance of uploading real time data on vaccination to CoWin. The PM informed that after a person receives the first dose of vaccination, CoWin shall immediately generate a digital vaccination certificate to act as a reminder for the second dose, after which, a final certificate will be given.
These strategy decisions have reflected the seriousness of the Centre to ensure success of the vaccination drive. Moreover, the PM himself is taking the lead.The first consignment (of 2.40 lakh vials) of COVID 19 vaccine for Assam and Meghalaya landed at Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International (LGBI) Airport at Guwahati on January 12. A freighter ferried 20 large boxes, weighing over 730 kg from Pune to Guwahati via Kolkata, Airports Authority of India NE Region's Executive Director, M Suresh has stated.
Out of 20 boxes, 17 are for Assam and three for Meghalaya. Each box has 12,000 doses of vaccine.The boxes were handed over to the representatives of the health department of both the state governments within the stipulated nine minutes of arrival, Suresh has already informed media.
The LGBI Airport has been marked as the nodal point of distribution of vaccines for the NE and it is equipped to transport COVID 19 vaccines to the regional states.
"We shall fully cooperate with all the agencies in terms of timely distribution of the vaccine through air cargo. Our cargo wing at Guwahati has readied its infrastructure and marked pick up points for effective and smooth flow of the consignment," Suresh has stated.