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1 Crore health workers will get vaccinated in the first vaccination drive

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a morning meeting with Chief Ministers in the foreground of a crucial meeting on vaccines for coronavirus. The Indian Express was told by the top government sources that one crore frontline healthcare workers have been marked to receive the first dose of whichever vaccine is available early next year against the novel coronavirus infection.

The sources of The Indian Express, who are part of the expert group constituted by the government on vaccine administration, said they are on the verge of building a database for the first priority group which will be frontline healthcare workers. This priority group will receive the first dose during the immunisation drive, as soon as a particular vaccine is cleared by the Indian regulator for commercial use.

The source said that they have received a substantial response from the states. Data has been provided by ninety two per cent of all the government hospitals across every state. In case of private hospitals, around 56 per cent of them have provided data. This data finds that approximately 1 crore frontline workers are employed in health related institutions across the nation who will be vaccinated as a priority in the first drive of vaccination.

In October Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan had said that the first priority for the government would be for those who face high exposure risk to the virus because of their profession, indicating that healthcare professionals at the health institutions would be among the early recipients of the vaccine.

Sources said state governments have provided the Central Government details on frontline healthcare workers under different categories like allopathic doctors, nurses deployed in hospitals, ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activists) workers, AYUSH doctors and ANMs (Auxiliary Nurse Midwifery).

Faculty members and students of medicine and nursing students will also be included in the training and implementation of the vaccination programme.

Five vaccine candidates are presently in advanced stages of development of vaccines in India and one is in the early stages. The Oxford vaccine candidate tested by Serum Institute has completed enrollment for Phase 3. Bharat Biotech has just started trials for Phase 3 and Phase 2 trials for Zydus Cadila are completed.