India

PM Modi to meet CMs on January 11 to discuss Covid vaccination strategy

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a virtual meeting with chief ministers of all states and union territories on January 11 to review the preparedness ahead of the rollout of coronavirus vaccines across the country.

In what will be the biggest inoculation drive in the world, India is gearing up to begin vaccinating its population against the novel coronavirus. While two mock drills were held across the country, the date of the vaccination rollout is not known yet.

The second Covid-19 vaccination dry run was held in 736 districts across the country on Friday, five days after the first mock drill was held. The nationwide exercise was done to understand the best way to administer the vaccine and plug loopholes in logistics and training.

 A Covid-19 vaccination centre in New Delhi.

Earlier today, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said the country will be able to vaccinate the entire population against Covid-19 soon.

Rollout countdown |More Covid-19 vaccine storage points, dry runs, extra training

The Union Health Ministry had last week said stakeholders at the Centre and states were prepared to roll out the mass immunisation programme against Covid-19 within 10 days of the vaccines getting approval. The decision on rolling out India’s biggest adult vaccination drive will, however, be taken by the central government, it said.

Two vaccines — Covaxin developed by Bharat Biotech with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), and Covishield, a variant of Oxford AstraZeneca’s AZD1222 manufactured under licence by the Serum Institute of India — recently got regulatory approval for restricted use in emergency situation.

Also Read |Covid-19 vaccination: Harsh Vardhan reviews dry run details, state ministers offer ideas

This means the vaccines have been approved for use despite the companies not having completed clinical trials. Given the pandemic, the government wanted a vaccine ready to use at the earliest. Another growing concern is the mutation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that has led to newer strains in countries like the UK which are starting to spread to other parts of the world, including India.

The steady fall in the number of fresh Covid cases in the country has ensured the contraction of its active caseload, which stands at 2,25,449 as on date and accounts for only 2.16 per cent of the total infections, the union health ministry has informed. At least 1,50,570 people have died of the disease so far.

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