Prime Minister Narendra Modi will virtually kickoff India's vaccination drive on January 16. On the same day, he would also launch the CoWin (Covid Vaccine Intelligence Work) app.
The application, developed by the central government, is essential to get enrolled for receiving the vaccine shots. The registration is mandatory, with at least one of the government-issued photo identity cards being required for completing the enrollment process.
Around three crore frontline workers, including one crore medics, are scheduled to be inoculated in the first phase. The immunisation programme would next focus upon the priority group, which includes those aged above 50 and persons with comorbidities.
The vaccination drive, which is expected to cover a population of around 30 crore by July, will cost Rs 1,300 crore. PM Modi, in his interaction with the chief ministers on Monday, called it one of the biggest vaccination drives in the world.
The vaccination for the non-priority group would begin after the immunisation programme has been completed for frontline workers, senior citizens, and those with comorbidities.
India has so far approved two vaccine candidates - Covishield developed by Pune-based Serum Institute of India and Covaxin developed by Hyderabad-headquartered Bharat Biotech. The latter, however, has drawn criticism from a section of experts due to the lack of final trials efficacy data.
The Health Ministry, in a press briefing on Tuesday, ruled out the possibility of providing a choice of vaccines to the beneficiaries.
"In many countries, more than one vaccine is being used. There is no such option available to any of the beneficiaries in these countries," Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan had said.