India’s COVID vaccination drive begins in Delhi

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With the world’s biggest vaccination drive slated to roll out across India from January 16, the Delhi government has announced that it has made all preparations and finalised 89 hospitals for the first phase of COVID-19 vaccination.

Of the 89 Delhi hospitals, 40 are government-run and 49 are private, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain told a press conference.

The public facilities include 34 district-level government multi/super specialty hospitals, four government sub-divisional hospitals and two community health centres.

The vaccines will be distributed to these points from the Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital (RGSSH), Delhi’s only vaccine storage facility.

The hospital has received 22 boxes consisting of 26,400 vials of Covishield, the COVID vaccine developed by Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII).

“A total of 22 boxes of vaccines have been received here. Each box contains 1,200 vials and each vial has 10 doses,” Chhavi Gupta, a spokesperson for RGSSH revealed.

Mr Jain said that the Delhi government will focus on healthcare workers, frontline workers and then people aged above 50 in the first phase of the vaccination. As many as 2,25,000 healthcare workers will get the vaccination in the first phase of the mammoth exercise.

The Delhi government will also include teachers in the exercise as they worked as frontline workers in the time of COVID-19 pandemic, the minister added.

The private facilities used as COVID-19 vaccination centres by the Delhi government will receive their share of doses on the day of inoculation while it will be given to the public facilities a day before, officials stated.

Suneela Garg, a key member of the task force handling vaccination in Delhi, confirmed that the vaccines would reach the public facilities on Friday. “The private hospitals will receive the vaccine doses early morning on the day of vaccination,” she said.

Garg, who is also a public health expert and professor of excellence at the Maulana Azad Medical College, said that the inoculation process would start with a single booth at each vaccination centre where beneficiaries will be called in a batch of 10. “The number will be increased gradually. A maximum of 100 people will be taken by each site,” she added.

Meanwhile, the officials from the Delhi government’s Directorate of Health and Family Welfare will conclude the re-inspection of all the cold-chain points which started on Tuesday after the vaccines arrived in Delhi. “It is done to ensure that there is no defect in the distribution system of the vaccines,” a senior official said.

Moreover, the Central Government has finalised around 5,000 vaccination sites across India with the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) approving two vaccines, Covishield by Pune-based SII and Covaxin by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, for emergency use authorisation against COVID-19 in the country.


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