Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan Saturday said vaccines would be administered free of cost to priority groups in the first phase on India’s inoculation drive.
This includes one crore healthcare workers and two crore frontline workers. Vardhan said the details of the second phase, in July, which will include vaccines for 27 crore more beneficiaries, is being work.
He also said the government would not compromise on any protocol before approving a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. He appealed to people not to be misguided by rumours regarding the safety and efficacy of vaccines.
“Vaccine hesitancy was an issue even when we started the polio immunisation drive. We must remember its success,” Vardhan said. “I appeal to the people not to be misguided by rumours regarding safety and efficacy of Covid-19 vaccine. We will not compromise on any protocol before approving a vaccine.
Vardhan Saturday visited GTB Hospital in the national capital to review the process of vaccine administration. Across the country today, hospitals are conducting a dry run to understand the best way to administer the Covid-19 vaccine. India’s inoculation drive will be the largest in the world.
A day before the vaccine dry run, Vardhan had recalled the 1994 pulse polio drive in Delhi when he told officials that relevant stakeholders, NGOs, civil society organisations and others need to be mobilised. “Let us attempt to implement it as a real exercise with attention to the minutest detail. Proper coordination will go a long way in building mutual understanding…” he said.
The penultimate hurdle in India getting a vaccine for Covid-19 was cleared Friday as an expert committee recommended the approval of Covishield, the Indian version of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca. The final decision will be taken by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).
Meanwhile, Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain Saturday said the people of Delhi would receive free shots.