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Centre working on COVID-19 vaccination plan

 NEW DELHI, Oct 4 - The Centre estimates to receive and utilise 40-50 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccine covering 20-25 crore people by July 2021 and it is preparing a format for the states to submit by October-end their list of priority population to be inoculated, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Sunday. He said priority would be given to health workers engaged in COVID-19 management and asserted that the Centre would ensure fair and equitable distribution of vaccines. During an interaction with social media followers, Vardhan said vaccine procurement would be done centrally with each consignment tracked real-time until delivery to ensure it reaches those who need it the most and there is no black-marketing.

 A high-level expert group is going into all aspects of vaccines and the health ministry is currently preparing a format in which states will submit lists of priority population groups to receive a vaccine, the Union minister said. The list of frontline health workers will include both government as well as private-sector doctors, nurses, paramedics, sanitary staff, ASHA workers, surveillance officers and many other occupational categories who are involved in tracing, testing and treatment of patients.

This exercise is targeted to be completed by the end of this October and the states are being closely guided to also submit details about cold chain facilities and other related infrastructure which will be required down to the block level, Vardhan said.

“The Centre is also working on plans for building capacities in human resources, training, supervision and others on a massive scale and roughly estimates to receive and utilise 400-500 million doses covering approximately 20-25 crore people by July 2021. All this is under various stages of finalisation,” he said.

The minister had earlier said a COVID-19 vaccine is likely to be available by the first quarter of 2021.

During the ‘Sunday Samvad’ programme, he informed his audience that the government is also keeping an eye on immunity data concerning COVID-19 disease while finalising these plans.

“Our government is working round the clock to ensure that there is a fair and equitable distribution of vaccines, once they are ready. Our utmost priority is how to ensure a vaccine for each and everybody in the country,” Vardhan said. – PTI

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