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PM Modi to launch nationwide inoculation drive on January 16

PM Modi to launch nationwide inoculation drive on January 16
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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the rollout of India's COVID-19 vaccination programme on January 16, the Union Health ministry said on Thursday.

He is likely to interact via video link with some healthcare workers from across the country who will be receiving the shots on the first day, according to sources.

Modi is also likely to launch the Co-WIN (COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network) App, a digital platform created for real-time monitoring of COVID-19 vaccine delivery and distribution, they said.

The Health ministry said: "The massive countrywide COVID-19 vaccination drive will be rolled out by the Prime Minister from January 16. This would be the world's largest immunisation exercise. Therefore, it has been decided by the Ministry of Health in consultation with the office of the President of India to reschedule the polio vaccination day, also known as the National Immunisation Day (NID) or 'Polio Ravivar' to 31st January."

A limited number of sites out of the 2,934 inoculation centres have been shortlisted from where the beneficiaries can interact with the Prime Minister and the authorities in those centres have been asked to make provisions for IT infrastructure for providing a two-way interactive communication facility to enable it to link and interact with the national launch site through a video link, the sources said.

Officials at New Delhi's AIIMS and Safdarjung hospitals, which are among the shortlisted facilities, said they are "ready for a two-way communication".

Around three lakh healthcare workers will get vaccine shots at 2,934 sites across the country on the first day of the massive nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive, a senior official said.

According to the guidelines issued to the shortlisted vaccination centres, healthcare workers (those registered in Co-WIN to be vaccinated) on the launch shall include not only doctors, nurses but also nursing orderlies, safai karamcharis, ambulance drivers, and would be from a mixed age group, including above 50 years.

The full initial procurement of 1.65 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines — Covishield and Covaxin — has been allocated to all states and UTs in proportion to their healthcare workers database.

Each vaccination session will cater to a maximum of 100 beneficiaries and the Union Health ministry has advised states not to organise "unreasonable numbers of vaccination per site per day".

India's COVID-19 caseload increased to 1,05,12,093 with 16,946 infections being reported in a day, while recoveries have surged to 1,01,46,763, according to Union Health ministry data updated on Thursday. The death toll has increased to 1,51,727 with 198 new fatalities.

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