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1 Crore Healthcare Workers To Receive COVID-19 Vaccine In First Phase: Report

New Delhi: An estimated one crore frontline health workers will receive the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine whenever it becomes available, with around 92 per cent of government hospitals and 55 per cent of private hospitals across all states and Union Territories providing data identifying the workers, official sources said.

Five vaccine candidates are in advanced stages of development in India, out of which four are in Phase II/III and one is in Phase-I/II trials.

States have been asked to accelerate the process of identifying frontline healthcare workers including doctors, MBBS students, nurses and ASHA workers etc, so that the exercise gets completed in another one week.

It has asked states to do planning and mapping of vaccination sessions where healthcare workers will be vaccinated during the 1st phase and mapping human resources across departments that could be deployed for vaccination sessions for verification of beneficiaries, crowd management and overall coordination.

“Around 92 per cent of all government hospitals and 55 per cent of all private hospitals from across all states and UTs have provided data. The rest of the details will come in another one week. We have asked the states to accelerate the process,” an official source told news agency PTI.

The anti-coronavirus vaccine, once available, would be distributed under a special COVID-19 inoculation programme, using the processes, technology and network of the existing Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP). It would run parallel to the UIP.

The Centre, with the help of state and UT governments, has started the process of identifying around 30 crore priority beneficiaries who would be given vaccine dose in the initial phase, sources had said.

The government has demarcated four categories which includes around 1 crore healthcare professionals including doctors, MBBS students, nurses and ASHA workers etc, around two crore frontline workers including municipal corporation workers, personnel of the police and armed forces, about 26 crore people aged above 50 and a special category of those below 50 with co-morbidities and requiring specialised care.

Health ministry’s existing digital platform eVIN which is being used for the UIP is being enhanced for the COVID-18 vaccine distribution and delivery, through which SMSs would be sent to recipients informing the time, date and venue to get the shots and digitally connect them and also track them, sources had earlier said.

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