India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive to start soon: Registrations details to guidelines, explained

  • During the first phase, nearly 30 crore people will receive the jab
  • The COVID-19 vaccine will be offered first to healthcare workers, frontline workers and to persons above 50 years of age

A ‘safe and effective’ vaccine against novel coronavirus will soon become a reality in India. Pfizer, Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech have applied for market authorisation for their vaccines. The vaccination drive will start once the country approves the emergency use of any of the vaccine candidates.

Meanwhile, the central government has readied the blueprint of the mega vaccination drive. During the first phase, nearly 30 crore people will receive the jab. Here is all you need to know about India’s vaccination programme.

Who will get the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available?

The COVID-19 vaccine will be offered first to healthcare workers, frontline workers and to persons above 50 years of age. Based on the pandemic and its course, people younger than 50 years of age with associated comorbidities will get the vaccine. Depending on the disease epidemiology and vaccine availability, the remaining population will be vaccinated later on. Getting vaccinated for coronavirus will be voluntary, the health ministry earlier stated.

The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) recommended that a prioritised population groups will specifically be vaccinated. It includes: (i) Approximately 1 crore, healthcare workers (HCWs) healthcare providers and workers in healthcare setting, (ii) about 2 crore frontline Workers (FLWs)which includes personnel from state and central police, armed forces, home guards, civil defence and disaster management volunteers, municipal workers, (iii) approximately 27 crore prioritized Age Group population above 50 years and persons below 50 years with associated co-morbidities.

Registration for COVID-19 vaccine:

The COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network (Co-WIN) system — a digitalised platform — will be used to track enlisted beneficiaries for the vaccination and anti-coronavirus vaccines on a real-time basis. At the vaccination site, only pre-registered beneficiaries will be vaccinated in accordance with the prioritisation. There will be no provision for on the-spot registrations.

“The latest electoral roll for Lok Sabha and legislative assembly election will be used to identify the population aged 50 years or more,” the central government said recently.

Twelve photo-identity documents, including Voter ID, Aadhar card, driving license, passport and pension document, will be required for self-registration on the Co-WIN website, it added.

COVID-19 vaccination guidelines:

The states have been asked to allocate the vaccine from one manufacturer to a district to avoid mixing of different COVID-19 vaccines in the field.All measures should be taken to avoid exposing the vaccine carrier, vaccine vials or ice packs to direct sunlight, the guidelines mentioned. “Vaccines and diluents should be kept inside the vaccine carrier with the lid closed until a beneficiary comes to the centre for vaccination,” the document said.

“There may not be vaccine vial monitors (VVM) and Date of Expiry on the label of COVID-19 vaccine, this should not discourage vaccinators from using the vaccine. At the end of the session, the vaccine carrier with all ice packs and unopened vaccine vials should be sent back to the distributing cold chain point,” the guidelines said.

Union health ministry also pledged for “One needle, One syringe, Only one time” and prepared guidelines for safer disposal of used injections. The Centre directed states to ensure safe injection practices during the biggest vaccination programme to be held in India.

“Always use Auto-disable (AD) syringes during the COVID-19 vaccination campaign. These syringes prevent person-to-person transmission of blood-borne pathogens. Use a new sterile packed AD syringe for each injection for each beneficiary,” the guidelines stated.

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