Coronavirus Vaccine Drive Latest Updates: Finally the day has come, and India is all set for rollout of the world’s biggest vaccination programme on Saturday with over 3 lakh healthcare workers to get the shots on the first day of the much-anticipated drive against coronavirus. Ahead of the vaccine drive, the Centre said it is the beginning of the end for coronavirus. Also Read - India's Vaccine Drive From Tomorrow: Health Ministry Lays Guidelines, Precautions | Check Details Here

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The vaccine drive will be launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi through video conferencing and a total of 3,006 session sites across all states and union territories will be virtually connected during the launch at 10.30 AM by PM Modi and around 100 beneficiaries will be vaccinated at each session site. Also Read - Massive Vaccination Drive To Start On January 16, Know How Coronavirus Vaccines Transported, Stored

Ahead of the drive, PM Modi on Monday had said the country would enter a “decisive phase” in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. “Tomorrow, January 16, India begins the pan-India rollout of COVID-19 Vaccination drive. The launch will take place at 10:30 AM tomorrow morning,” he said in a tweet.

Who will first receive vaccine?

According to updates, Jaipur’s Sawai Man Singh (SMS) Medical College Principal Sudhir Bhandari will be the first person in Rajasthan to be given the shot, while in Madhya Pradesh, a hospital security guard and an attending in-charge will be among the first to get the jab.

Before the launch of the vaccine drive, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan reviewed the preparations and visited the dedicated COVID control room set up at the Nirman Bhawan premises of the health ministry. Vardhan said India’s exercise to vaccinate its population against COVID-19 shall be the largest immunisation drive of the world.

Vaccine drive in phased manner

To make sure the beneficiaries get the vaccine, the drive has been planned in a phased manner, identifying priority groups. Healthcare workers, both in government and private sectors including ICDS (Integrated Child Development Services) workers, will receive the vaccine during this phase, the health ministry has said earlier.

Indigenously manufactured vaccines, Covishield by Serum Institute of India and COVAXIN of Bharat Biotech, have proven safety and immunogenicity records and are the most important tools to contain the pandemic.

Vaccine drive through Co-WIN app

An online digital platform Co-WIN, developed by the health ministry, will be used to drive the vaccination programme. Adequate doses of both Covishield and Covaxin have already been delivered to all states and union territories. A dedicated 24×7 call centre — 1075 — has also been set up for addressing queries related to the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccine roll-out and the Co-WIN software.

According to the government, the shots will be offered first to an estimated one crore healthcare workers, and around two crore frontline workers, and then to persons above 50 years of age, followed by persons younger than 50 years of age with associated comorbidities.

Preparation across states

All states and union territories are geared up for the inoculation programme. In Delhi, the drive will kick off from the state-run LNJP Hospital with a simple ceremony in the presence of Chief Minister Kejriwal and Health Minister Satyendar Jain.

In Maharashtra, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will launch the vaccination drive from a centre at Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai.

In Gujarat, medical superintendents of government hospitals at Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar will be among the first to get the shots, where over 16,000 health workers will be vaccinated during the day, officials said.

In Assam, an estimated 6,500 people of the 1.9 lakh health workers will be vaccinated on the first day. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal will inaugurate the drive at Assam Medical College Hospital, Dibrugarh and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital.

(With inputs from agencies)