COVID vaccine drive, Jan 9: The government said on Saturday that the nationwide Covid-19 vaccination drive in India will begin on January 16.

The rollout of Covid-19 vaccines will provide priority to the healthcare workers and the 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 announcement to begin the mass vaccination drive from next week comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting to review the Covid-19 situation in the country.

At the meeting, PM Narendra Modi reviewed the preparedness of the States and Union Territories for Covid-19 vaccination. The meeting was attended by Cabinet Secretary, Principal Secretary to PM, Health Secretary, and other senior officials concerned.

PM Narendra Modi was also briefed about the preparedness status of the Centre in close collaboration with the State and UT governments for the rollout of the vaccines. Earlier, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) had granted AstraZeneca’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin emergency use approval.

PM Narendra Modi was also apprised about the Co-WIN Vaccine Delivery Management System. The unique digital platform will provide real-time information on vaccine stocks, their storage temperature, and individualized tracking of beneficiaries of the Covid-19 vaccine.

This platform will assist the program managers across all levels through automated session allocation for pre-registered beneficiaries, their verification, and for generating a digital certificate upon successful completion of the vaccine schedule. Over 79 lakh beneficiaries have already been registered on the platform.

PM Narendra Modi was also apprised of the three phases of dry runs having been conducted across the country. The third dry run was conducted on Friday across 615 districts covering 4,895 session sites in 33 States/UTs.

After the detailed review, it was decided that in view of the forthcoming festivals including Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Pongal, Magh Bihu, the Covid-19 vaccination in India will start from next week.