With a population of 1.3 billion people spread across 28 states and 8 union territories, the government of India has a challenging task ahead of them in ensuring that the entire population is protected against the dreaded coronavirus.
Armed with the Oxford-Astrazena vaccine Covishield and the indigenous vaccine Covaxin, India is all geared up now to commence the ‘world’s largest vaccination program’ on January 16th, in the hope of vaccinating 300 million people by August 2021.
In the days leading up to the rollout day, several flights will be ferrying nearly 56 lakh doses of the vaccine to 13 major cities of the country.
How Is The Vaccine Being Transported?
The vaccine distribution is already underway and many of the major cities have received the first few batches from Pune. The vaccines have been transported in trucks with temperature-regulators, following which several airlines have been shipping them in refrigeration units.
These major cities include Delhi, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Hyderabad and Guwahati. These cities are then to act as hubs from which other nearby locations will receive their doses.
Who Is Likely To Receive The Vaccine First?
The drive as such has been declared as ‘a work in progress’ due to the uncertainty surrounding the virus and the difficulty in executing this large-scale project. There is a general guideline that the government is following but the program is subject to change even after it commences.
It is not surprising that this will be a complex undertaking for the government. Besides ensuring that people are getting properly vaccinated, they also have to ensure training for healthcare workers. People’s fears about the vaccine and its safety have to be tackled as well.
In the matter of who will receive the vaccines first, the Prime Minister has declared that the frontline workers will be the primary beneficiaries as part of the first phase till early August.
This will include nearly 1 crore healthcare workers and the remaining 2 crore essential service workers like the armed forces, police services, municipal officers, government workers, sanitation workers, disaster management, prison staff, etc.
Following the first dry-run, the second phase will focus on elderly people and those with severe chronic illnesses.
This includes people above the age of 50 and those below the age of 50 suffering from various comorbidities. It is likely that the remaining general masses will be given final preference in the matter.
There are reports that suggest that the complete eradication of the virus only through vaccinations may not be entirely possible.
Rather, the vaccine should be given to those who are most vulnerable and the general public should develop herd immunity against the virus. However, whether this is a suitable method of immunising the public against the virus is debatable.
As the government embarks on this initiative, the vaccines are undoubtedly rays of hope for millions of us who are waiting to get back to living life as we know it.
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