Coronavirus: How India is readying for its massive vaccine drive

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An Indian health worker mocks the vaccination process during a dry run of Covid-19 vaccination inside a Covid-19 vaccination centre at Rajawadi Hospital, in Mumbai, India, 08 January 2021.

On 16 January, India will begin what will be one of the world’s biggest inoculation programmes, aimed at protecting its 1.3 billion people from Covid-19.

The government plans to vaccinate 300 million people by early August. It will begin with an estimated 10 million health workers, followed by policemen, soldiers, municipal and other frontline workers.

Next in line for the jab would be people aged over 50 and anyone under 50 with serious underlying health conditions.

India has recorded the second-highest number of Covid-19 infections in the world, after the US. Since the pandemic began it has confirmed more than 10.3 million cases and over 150,000 deaths.

The country’s drugs regulator has given the green light to two vaccines – Covishield that has been developed by AstraZeneca with Oxford University and Covaxin by local firm Bharat Biotech.

A health worker is seen with a Tibetan woman inside a room during a dry run of Covid-19 vaccination inside a vaccination centre at Delek Hospital in Dharamsala, India
Last week, health officials staged mass trials at vaccination centres across the country, like this one in the northern city of Dharamsala, the Dalai Lama’s home in exile.
Healthcare workers sit inside a classroom of a school, which has been converted into a temporary vaccination centre, during a nationwide trial run of COVID-19 vaccine delivery systems, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India.
Government schools, community centres and hospitals have been converted into temporary vaccination centres.
Health workers visiting homes to inform people about the vaccination
Health workers are visiting homes in the remotest parts of India to inform people about the vaccination, like this meeting in the northern state of Uttarakhand.
Health activists Seema Pal and Rama Negi
Health activists Seema Pal and Rama Negi say they have also been busting misinformation about the vaccine in Uttarakhand.
A doctors conducting training for vaccinators and health workers in Uttarakhand
Doctors are conducting training for vaccinators and health workers across India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said “priority will be given to our brave doctors, healthcare workers [and] frontline workers”.
Kiran Mal, a female health worker, attending to a patient in Uttarakhand
Kiran Mal (sitting), a female health worker, is among India’s 154,000 nurses and midwives who will be deployed to give Covid-19 vaccines.
A woman getting a tetanus jab in Uttarakhand
India is likely to gain from its experience of running the world’s biggest immunisation programme – it inoculates more than 40 million newborns and pregnant women against 12 diseases every year – for the Covid vaccination programme. Here, Ms Mal is giving a tetanus jab to a woman.
The Vaccine Van which is used to distribute the Covid-19 vaccine when available, in Bangalore, India, 07 January 2021. The second phase of dry run for COVID-19 vaccinations will be conducted in five districts - Belagavi, Bengaluru, Kalaburagi, Mysuru and Shivamoga - across the state, as directed by the Union Health Ministry.
Special vans, like this one in the southern city of Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore), will be deployed all over the country to distribute the vaccines.
An Indian health official conducts routine checks of the Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (EVIN) ice line cold storage refrigerator at a city government hospital in Bangalore, India.
Health officials at a government hospital in Bengaluru check refrigerators which will be used to store vaccines. Across India, some 29,000 cold storage facilities would be used for the purpose – nearly all vaccines need to be transported and distributed between 2C and 8C in what comprises the so-called cold chain.
A doctor waits near a vaccination guideline poster in a Covid-19 vaccination centre during a second phase of mock vaccinations in Kolkata, India, 08 January 2021. Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved the emergency use of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University.
Posters detailing guidelines have been put up at several centres like this one in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) during mock vaccination exercises.

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