Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Ministers of states are likely to get the COVID-19 vaccine in the second phase of the vaccination drive, according to media reports. In a meeting with Chief Ministers, the Prime Minister has reportedly said that politicians above the age of 50 can take the COVID-19 vaccine in the next phase. The news comes in the wake of reports of vaccine hesitancy among several healthcare and frontline workers, who have expressed concerns over the safety of the vaccines. It is likely to boost vaccination efforts by the government.
The PM had earlier warned politicians to wait their turn before getting the vaccine and not jump the queue. It was decided that the first phase of the vaccination drive would be dedicated to health workers and frontline personnel like the police, armed forces, municipal workers etc. The next round is expected to be dedicated for those above 50 and those with comorbidities. State governments have been given a tentative prioritisation list based on which the vaccines will be administered.
In a quote to a media house, Public Health Foundation of India president K Srinath Reddy was quoted as saying, â€śIn India, co-morbidities like hypertension, diabetes and coronary heart diseases occur much earlier than in western populations. So, prioritising the 50 plus population is the right approach".
After the Drugs Controller of India (DGCI) approved two vaccines developed in India, a massive inoculation drive began in the country on January 16. The two vaccines approved are Covishield, which is a version of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, manufactured by Serum Institute of India and Covaxin developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech. The vaccination drive that began on January 16 is the worldâ€™s largest vaccination programme.
In the first phase, India will be administering the vaccine to around 3 crore healthcare and frontline workers. As on Wednesday, a total of 7.86 lakh beneficiaries have been vaccinated.