The first wave of coronavirus vaccination in India, which began Saturday, will take up to six months, the country’s health minister, Harsh Vardhan, said.
“In the first part of this strategy, we intend to vaccinate 300 million people, as I said, medics, people who struggle with coronavirus, people over 50, and people with comorbidities. Once we have (enough) vaccine, we think we can complete that part in six months,” Vardhan told reporters.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched an all-India vaccination campaign during a video conference Saturday. About 3,000 vaccination centers have opened in the country, with more than 80 in the Indian capital of Delhi. The authorities are planning to gradually increase the number of such centers – by the end of January 5,000 such places will open in India, and by March – up to 12,000.
Currently, only two vaccines against coronavirus are approved in India – the Indian version of the “Oxford” vaccine called Covieshield and the domestic Covaxin. However, as First Deputy Health Minister Rajesh Bhushan said earlier, authorities may soon consider using four more vaccines, including Russia’s Sputnik V.
About 100 people will receive the vaccine each day at each of the vaccination centers. To avoid confusion, only one brand of vaccine, Covieshield or Covaxin, will be available at each location. All vaccination information will be recorded in a Co-WIN app developed by the Indian Ministry of Health, which provides real-time information on vaccine availability and the health status of recipients of the coronavirus vaccine.
India has the second-highest number of identified coronavirus infections in the world. According to the latest data from the Ministry of Health, a total of 10.5 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the country. At the same time, more than 10.1 million people have overcome the disease, about 211 thousand continue treatment, 152 thousand people died from coronavirus and related diseases.