The Centre on Saturday said the much-awaited COVID19 vaccination drive across India will begin on January 16.

The announcement comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting to review the Covid19 situation and preparedness for vaccination in the country.

“After the detailed review, it was decided that in view of the forthcoming festivals including Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Pongal, Magh Bihu, etc., the COVID19 vaccination will start from January 16, 2021,” said a statement issued by the Union health ministry.

The high-level meeting was attended by the Cabinet secretary, principal secretary to PM, health secretary and other senior officials concerned.

The Prime Minister took a detailed and comprehensive review of the status of COVID management covering various issues.

Emergency use authorisation or accelerated approval has been granted by the national regulator for two vaccines (Covishield and Covaxin) which have established safety and immunogenicity.

Covaxin has been manufactured and developed by Bharat Biotech while Covishield has been developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University and is being manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute of India.

The PM was briefed about the preparedness status of the Centre in close collaboration with the state and UT governments for the rollout of the vaccine in the near future.

The roll-out of COVID19 vaccine will provide priority to the healthcare workers and the frontline workers who are estimated to be around 3 crore, followed by those above 50 years of age and the under-50 population groups with co-morbidities numbering around 27 crore.

The Prime Minister was apprised about the Co-WIN Vaccine Delivery Management System.

The unique digital platform will provide real-time information of vaccine stocks, their storage temperature and individualized tracking of beneficiaries of the COVID19 vaccine.

This platform will assist the program managers across all levels through automated session allocation for pre-registered beneficiaries, their verification and for generating a digital certificate upon successful completion of the vaccine schedule.

More than 79 lakh beneficiaries have been already registered on the platform.

The third dry run for COVID19 vaccination was conducted on Friday across 615 districts covering 4,895 session sites in 33 states/UTs.

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