NEW DELHI: Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, said that 30 million frontline workers, including 7 million doctors and paramedics and 20 million frontline health workers, will be provided with COVID-19 vaccine in phase 1. He added that the infrastructure to vaccinate 30 million healthcare workers is already in place including cold chain, vials, syringes, etc.
The first phase of the vaccination is scheduled between January and June, 2021. Dr Balram Bhargava, Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research, said that the same guidelines will have to be followed even after development of COVID-19 vaccine.
Bhushan said that India has been successfully conducting the vaccination program across the nation for 50 years, vaccinating almost 25 million people every year. He added that as a result of this, 28,000 cold storages already exist in the country used to store various vaccines under different programmes. Government is also planning to engage private entities, which have proper infrastructure, to store and administer large doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Health experts are of the view that it is good to stay prepared as nobody knows when the vaccine will be available. However, when the COVID-19 vaccine is available, many countries will be in the race to procure it.