New Delhi: With vaccine likely to be made available by early next year, the Centre is urgently preparing database of all government and private health workers who have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic to give them the first shots of the booster after it is ready. Also Read - Coronavirus Vaccine Likely to Reach Cold Storage Points in Delhi by December End

“Vaccine would be supplied by the government of India to all states for free,” news agency Reuters quoted Pradipta Mohapatra, the top health bureaucrat of Odisha state, who attended a video conference with federal health officials as saying. “First to be vaccinated are the health workers both in government and private sector. The policy is uniform for the whole country.” Also Read - This Antiviral Drug May Block COVID Virus Within 24 Hours, Claims Study

Mohapatra added that all the states and UTs will have to provide details of their health workers to the federal agency by the next Friday. Also Read - Italy Imposes Ban on Christmas Midnight Mass And Travel Between Regions

Frontline health workers are estimated to be around 20 Lakh across the country.

If reports are to be believed, the government has also kept workers in biomedical waste management, sanitation workers, ambulance drivers, security staff, outsource agency employees and other support staff, clerical staff in its priority list of who gets the vaccine first.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier called for full preparedness to ensure speedy access to COVID-19 vaccines for every citizen. He had also suggested developing a vaccine delivery system on the lines of conduct of polls and disaster management while involving all levels of government and citizen groups.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had said that the first vaccine for novel coronavirus would likely be available in the first trimester of the upcoming year.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 recoveries in India crossed 69 lakh, while the number of coronavirus infections in a span of 24 hours remained below 60,000 for the fifth consecutive day on Friday. The country’s caseload now stands at  77,61,312, according to Union Health Ministry data updated on Friday morning.