The year 2021 has come up with better prospects for India in regards to Controlling COVID-19. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan recently announced that vaccination in its first phase for priority group beneficiaries in all states will be free. The government started with the dry run for Covid-19 vaccination in most of the states. Soon a section of the population will receive their first vaccine shot. Preparation for administering doses at vaccine centres, logistics requirements, and other arrangements are also at full swing. The country’stop drug regulator, DCGI has approved Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covexin for restricted emergency use. The Health minister already assured that the government will not compromise on any protocol before approving a vaccine, underlining that vaccine hesitancy was an issue even when the country started the polio immunisation drive, but “we must remember its success”. If you desire to opt for the vaccination and want to register yourself for the same then you must know who will get the vaccine first.
According to the recommendations of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC) one crore, health workers working with both government and private hospitals will be first in the line to be inoculated. The priority group has been further divided into subcategories as frontline workers, Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) workers, nurses and supervisors, paramedical staff, medical officers, support staff, and medical students. All the data has been collected from the health care facilities and is being uploaded into Co-WIN, the digitized platform to be used to effectively roll out and scale up the mechanism for Covid Vaccine Distribution System.
Two crore frontline workers employed with central and state Police services, armed forces, civil defence organisation, disaster management, home guard, prison staff, municipal workers, revenue officials working with Covid-19 surveillance and other associated activities. Workers associated with the state government and ministries of defence, urban affairs, housing will also receive the vaccination in the first phase. This group will be further divided into people above the age group of 60 years and people above the age of 50 years with co-morbidities. The latest electoral roll of Assembly or Lok Sabha elections will be used as a reference to identify the population for immunisation. Age will be calculated based on the cut-off date of 1st January 2021 and anyone born on or before 1st January 1971 will fall under this category. States and UTs at their discretion can do priority phasing of vaccine roll out in geographical areas where the infection is high. Population below 50 years of age with associated comorbidities based on the evolving pandemic situation like diabetes, cancer, hypertension, and lung diseases, etc, and finally to the remaining population based on the disease epidemiology and vaccine availability.
Common Service centres need to be utilized for self-registration and identity certification of the general population. The self-registration module will be made available in the later phases of implementation. Individuals can select the method of authentication from the given options, such as biometric: With this demographic details of the individual from name to a permanent address in the Aadhaar card will autofill the platform. OTP Authentication: An OTP will be sent to the registered mobile number with an Aadhaar card. If the OTP authentication is successful, the demographic details of the individual as per the Aadhaar will auto-populate. Demographic Authentication: An individual can also enter all demographic details manually i.e. Name, DoB, gender, and select Demo Authentication. A green tick will appear confirming the same.
An individual interested to register will be required to provide a photo identity from, Aadhaar Card, Driving License; Health Insurance Smart Card issued under the scheme of Ministry of Labour; MNREGA Job Card; Official identity cards issued to MPs/MLAs/MLCs; PAN Card; Passbook issued by Bank/Post Office; Passport; Pension Document; Service Identity Card issued to employees by Central/State Govt./PSUs/ Public Limited Companies; Smart Card issued by RGI under NPR; Voter ID or Photo identity can either be uploaded on Co-WIN system (in PDF, JPG or PNG file formats) or can be pulled from the existing DigiLocker account of the individual.
Once registered, the date and time will be allocated for vaccination. There will be no spot registration facility and only pre-registered beneficiaries will be allowed to proceed with vaccination. District Collector (DC)/District Magistrate (DM) with the support of the District Immunization Officer will link the sessions sites, vaccinators, supervisors, and beneficiaries and decide the dates and time for conducting the vaccination session. The respective district administration will approve the beneficiaries for session and site allocation. Co-WIN has inbuilt monitoring and reporting mechanisms.
An ideal session site should have three demarcated rooms/areas one is Waiting Room/Area; a second Vaccination Room; and the third is the Observation Room. Every session will be managed by a five-member team with defined responsibilities. The Vaccination Officer would be doing pre-checking registration status of beneficiary and photo ID verification before entering the waiting room/area. Vaccination Officer-1 will be assisting in making queues/ crowd management. Vaccination Officer the In-charge of authenticating/ verifying documents in the Co-WIN system (Health / ICDS / other government departments e.g. election model). And the third officer-in-charge of vaccinating the beneficiaries (Doctors (MBBS / BDS/AYUSH), Staff Nurse, Pharmacist, ANM, and LHV) will inject and monitor the patients. Vaccination Officer 3 and 4 will be in charge of crowd management, ensuring a 30-minute wait, monitoring for any AEFI symptoms, guiding non-registered beneficiaries. Vaccination conducted at the health facilities – both government and private – where either a medical officer or a doctor is available is defined as a fixed session site. Schools and community halls will be outreach session sites while there will be special mobile teams for remote areas or migratory populations and international border areas.
All COVID-19 vaccination sessions will be conducted from 9 am to 5 pm. India on Sunday formally authorised the emergency use of two coronavirus vaccines developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, and by Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical firm Bharat Biotech. The decisions mark the first Covid-19 vaccine approvals for the world’s second-most populous country, which after the United States, has recorded the most infections of the coronavirus disease. It is now expected to start a massive immunisation programme within about a week and hopes to inoculate 300 million of its 1.35 billion people free of charge in the first six to eight months of this year. The AstraZeneca/Oxford shot, already approved in Britain, Argentina, and El Salvador, will take the lead and Bharat Biotech’s Covexin will be administered under stricter conditions given no efficacy data has been released for it. Somani said the overall efficacy of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine was 70.42%, while Bharat Biotech’s COVEXIN was “safe and provides a robust immune response”. The British-developed AstraZeneca/Oxford shot is being made locally by the Serum Institute of India (SII) and will be branded COVISHIELD, while Bharat Biotech has teamed up with the government-run Indian Council of Medical Research.
The government has already been holding nationwide drills ahead of the mass inoculation drive and 96,000 health workers have been trained to administer the shots. Both vaccines will be administered in two doses and stored at 2-8 degrees Celsius (36 to 48°F), he said, without clarifying the intervals between the shots. A Reuters report quoted sources as saying that the doses would have to be given four weeks apart. The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, which was granted its first approval by Britain on Tuesday, is cheaper and easier to use than some rival shots. The British shot, however, has been plagued by uncertainty about its most effective dosage ever since data published in November showed a half dose followed by a full dose had a 90% success rate, while two full shots were 62% effective.