Prime Minister Narendra Modi to launch world’s largest COVID-19 vaccination program this morning.

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As the nation fights the COVID-19 pandemic, we begin with a message of precaution to stay safe and protected by following these three simple steps —

· Wear a face mask.

· Maintain Do Gaz Ki Doori for social distancing.

· Focus on hand and face hygiene.

Now, the news:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the world’s largest COVID-19 vaccination program, through video conferencing at 10.30 AM today. This pan India rollout of COVID-19 vaccination drive will cover the entire length and breadth of the country.

A total of three thousand six session sites across all States and Union Territories will be virtually connected during the launch. Around 100 beneficiaries will be vaccinated at each session site on the inaugural day.

This vaccination programme is based on the principles of priority groups to be vaccinated. Health Care workers, both in government and private sectors including Integrated Child Development Services-ICDS workers will receive the vaccine during this phase.

The vaccination programme will use Co-WIN, an online digital platform developed by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, which will facilitate real time information of vaccine stocks, storage temperature and individualized tracking of beneficiaries for COVID-19 vaccine. This digital platform will assist programme managers across all levels while conducting vaccination sessions.

A dedicated 24×7 call centre, 1075 has also been established for addressing the queries related to COVID-19 pandemic, vaccine rollout and the Co-WIN software. More details from our correspondent.

“India’s exercise to vaccinate its population against COVID19 will be the largest immunization drive of the world. COVID-19 vaccine priority will be given to the healthcare workers and frontline workers who are estimated to be around 3 Crores, followed by those above 50 years of age and the under-50 population groups with co-morbidities numbering around 27 Crores. The two indigenously manufactured vaccines, COVISHIELD and COVAXIN, have proven safety and immunogenicity records and are the most important tools to contain the pandemic. Adequate doses of both COVISHIELD and COVAXIN have already been delivered to all States with the active support of the Ministry of Civil Aviation. These have been further delivered by the State and UT governments to the districts. All preparations are in place to initiate the programme on the principles of Jan Bhagidari.The cost of vaccination of healthcare and frontline workers will be borne by the Centre. Anand Kumar, AIR News, Delhi”.

NITI Aayog Member, Health and the Chairman of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration of COVID-19, Dr V. K. Paul has said that the two Made in India vaccines-Covishield and Covaxin are safe and both have the capacity to develop an immune response system in the body. Talking exclusively to AIR News, Dr Paul said that both the vaccines have been given emergency use authorisation by the drug regulator and experts of the country and people should have trust in them.

Dr Paul also advised people not to pay heed to false information related to the vaccines.

In the national capital, Delhi government has received 2 lakh 74 thousand vaccine doses from the Central government, which will cater to around 1.2 lakh healthcare workers in the first phase. A total of 81 sites have been finalized across Delhi, and around 100 people, will be vaccinated in a single day at each site. Around 8000 healthcare workers will be vaccinated across Delhi on a single day initially. The vaccine will be administered four days a week, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. The remaining days have been spared for the routine vaccination process.

In Uttar Pradesh, around 31,700 health workers will be vaccinated across 75 districts in the first phase. More from our Lucknow correspondent:

“Health Minister of state Jai Pratap Singh said that after the launch of vaccination drive from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the vaccination will start in the state at all 311 centres where 317 sessions of immunization will be held in the first phase. He said that all security arrangements are in place and every protocol will be followed during the vaccination drive. Health Minister said that cctv cameras have been installed at all 1,298 cold chain points and the session of vaccination will also be put under CCTV surveillance. Additional chief secretary home health Amit Mohan Prasad informed that at every centre hundred people will be vaccinated and details of all persons who will be vaccinated today is online. In state capital Lucknow 1200 persons will be vaccinated today at 12 centres in which 9 are in city areas and 3 are in rural areas. District magistrate of Lucknow Abhishek Prakash said that the whole drive will be monitored live at the control and command centre. SUSHIL CHANDRA TIWARI, AIR NEWS, LUCKNOW”.

In Bihar, Covid -19 vaccination programme will begin at 300 centres across the state today. The vaccine will be given first to cleanliness workers and ambulance staff at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Science, Patna. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will be present on this occasion.Thirty thousand people will be vaccinated today. Web casting of vaccination process will be done at 50 centres. Health Minister Mangal Pandey said 4 lakh 65 thousand 160 health workers will be vaccinated during the first, phase.