Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on November 19 said that while the government will not be able to provide vaccination against COVID-19 to the entire population of India together, by June or July 2021, "we should have 400-500 million doses".
"So we should be able to inoculate 25-30 crore people," Vardhan said. Earlier in October, the health minister had said that the government plans vaccinate 20-25 crore people by July 2021.
Vardhan also said that he is confident a vaccine will be ready in the next three to four months.
"I am confident that Covid-19 vaccine will be ready in the next three-four months... Tracking and tracing of the vaccine would be neck-deep once it’s available for the public. Hopefully, 2021 should be a better year for all of us," ANI quoted the health minister as saying.
Also Read: Coronavirus vaccine tracker November 19 | Check out the latest developments from around the world
Spelling out the prioritization details for the vaccine, Vardhan said the government will be "prioritising people according to their age and medical condition" and that preparations are being done with that in mind.
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These may include people who are above 50 years of age, Police, Armed Forces, those working in healthcare sectors, sanitation workers, and high-risk target groups, according to reports.
"We have a vaccine intelligence platform... We have been successful in rooting out polio, we will now modify the infrastructure for COVID-19," Vardhan said.
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Earlier reports had also suggested that as per a draft plan, 70 lakh healthcare workforce from the public and private sector will be administered the COVID-19 vaccine.
This includes 11 lakh MBBS doctors, 8 lakh Ayush practitioners, 15 lakh nurses, 7 lakh auxiliary nurse midwives (ANM), 10 lakh ASHA workers and 7-8 lakh allied professionals like sanitation workers, ambulance drivers and hospital security.
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The government is estimating Rs 45,000 to Rs 50,000 crore as the outlay for vaccine distribution. Reports had earlier suggested that the vaccine might cost around $6-7 per person.
According to reports, a distribution plan for the vaccine might include SMSes, QR code certificates and setting up booths at schools. An expert group has discussed these features in its framework for immunising the country in 2021