India begins first round of COVID-19 vaccination program today

16 January 2021, New Delhi

India is launching one of the world’s largest vaccination programs, aimed at protecting more than 1.3 billion people from Covid-19 on Saturday.

Millions of doses of two approved vaccines – Covishield and Covaxin – have been shipped across the country.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is inaugurating the vaccination drive at 10:30 am in New Delhi, according to the report of Times of India.

They will go first to health workers and frontline workers, then to other at-risk groups.

An estimated 10 million health workers will be vaccinated in the first round, followed by policemen, soldiers, municipal and other front-line workers.

Next in line will be people aged over 50 and anyone under 50 with serious underlying health conditions. India’s electoral rolls, which contain details of some 900 million voters, will be used to identify eligible recipients.

The government plans to vaccinate 300 million people by early August.

India’s drug regulator has given the green light to two vaccines – Covishield (the local name for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine developed in the UK) and Covaxin, locally-made by pharma company Bharat Biotech.

India has recorded the second-highest number of Covid-19 infections in the world after the United States.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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