The world’s largest vaccination programme will begin at a total of 3,006 session sites across all the States and the Union Territories, which will be connected virtually throughout the exercise. Nearly 100 beneficiaries will receive the vaccine at each of the session sites on Saturday.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday said adequate doses of both the vaccines — Covishield and Covaxin — had been delivered across the country. He reviewed the functioning of the CoWIN system, the online digital platform that will be used to drive the vaccination programme.
Here are live updates:
Sanitation worker gets first vaccine shot
N. Krishnamma, a sanitation worker at Gandhi Hospital, Hyderabad, was one among the first beneficiaries of COVID-19 vaccination programme launched across 140 hospitals in Telangana on Saturday morning.
It was around this time of the year in 2020 that international passengers arriving at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Shamshabad, were screened for high fever as one of the symptoms for COVID-19.
After around one-and-half-months of anticipation, the first COVID-19 case was detected in Telangana on March 2-2020. Around one year after the screening has begun at the airport, a ‘solution’ is being implemented.
On the first day of the drive, around 4,100 health staff across the State were listed as beneficiaries. It was launched in 140 sites and there were 30 beneficiaries in each site. The number of session sites would increase in a phase wise manner over the days.
In the first phase, priority is given to healthcare workers who have been in the forefront of the COVID-19 management. They will be followed by front line workers in other departments such as municipality, police. Thereafter, people above 50-years, and those below 50-years with co-morbidities will be given priority.
The vaccine will be given in two doses with a gap of 28-days. The State Health department has received 3.64 lakh doses of Covishield, and 20000 doses of Covaxin. Both the vaccines will be used in the State. – K. Shiv Shanker
Inoculation drive at 285 centres in Maharashtra
The inoculation drive is taking place at 285 centres in Maharashtra where 100 healthcare workers will be administered the shots in a day, and cover 28,500 workers, an official said.
The state has received 9.63 lakh doses of Covishield vaccine and 20,000 doses of Covaxin vaccine, which have been distributed to all the districts.
Vaccination in Rajasthan will be carried out at 167 centres
Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot addressed a function marking the launch of COVID-19 vaccination campaign in Jaipur. “COVID-19 management has been excellent in Rajasthan,” said Mr. Gehlot. “Even the Centre appreciated it. Mortality rate has come down significantly, just before the vaccination begins,” he said.
“Our country is expert in vaccination manufacturing. People should be convinced. Vaccination in Rajasthan will be carried out at 167 centres established across the State.”
“No scope for negligence after the vaccines are administered. Health protocols must be followed. The State government will ensure this,” the CM said.
Mr. Gehlot interacted with officials at some vaccination centres through video-conferencing. Dr. Sudhir Bhandari, Principal, Sawai Man Singh Government Medical College, Jaipur, is the first to get vaccinated. He said to the CM that the health and frontline warriors are alert and committed for fighting the pandemic.
Sanitation worker in AIIMS first person in Delhi to get COVID-19 vaccination
Niti Aayog member VK Paul got his COVID-19 vaccination in the Capital city on Saturday. People waited in queue to get the vaccine at the Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality hospital in New Delhi.
Manish Kumar, sanitation worker at AIIMS was the first to get the vaccine in New Delhi.
Mr. Kumar said, “It feels great to take the vaccine as it will only help me work for the country even more. Even my mother is a sanitation worker here. I am feeling perfectly fine after taking the shot.”
Andhra Pradesh launches vaccination drive
As vaccination drive was taken up across Andhra Pradesh, health workers got their vaccine shot. 332 vaccine session sites were identified in the State for the launch of the inoculation drive.
Kerala begins the vaccination programme
In Kozhikode, Kerala, Vipin Varkey, pulmonologist, Government General Hospital, was the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine shot in the district.
First set of doctors receive shots in Ernakulam
The first set of doctors who received the Covishield vaccine at the Ernakulam General Hospital included General Hospital Superintendent Dr. A. Anitha, senior cardio thoracic surgeon Dr. Jose Chacko Periappuram and Dr. M.G. Sivadas, District Reproductive and Child Health Officer, who is the nodal officer for vaccination in Ernakulam.
After a 30 minute observation period, they experienced no adverse effects, they told the media. It was a prick that was barely felt, Dr. Periappuram said.
The vaccination drive in the district kicked off from the General Hospital with District Collector S. Suhas and Mayor M. Anilkumar being present to flag it off after the Prime Minister’s address.
The vaccination booth has been set up at the Palliative Care unit of the hospital and most staff members of the hospital and some health officials in the district will be vaccinated at the centre on Saturday. The vaccine is being administered by the staff nurses at the hospital.
A total of 1200 health workers are being vaccinated at 12 centres across the district on Saturday. District Collector S. Suhas told the media here that additional centres would begin functioning from Monday onwards. Around 225 sites have been readied in the district so far to administer the vaccine.
– Abhinaya H.
Health workers in Kozhikode take the Covishield vaccine
Vipin Varkey, consultant, respiratory medicine, Government General Hospital, was the first among the health workers in Kozhikode district to take the Covishield vaccine on Saturday. He told the media after the mandatory 30-minute observation period that he had no uneasiness or irritation. “There is no need to panic. Vaccination is required to ward off the threat of infection,” he said. The vaccination drive is being held in 11 centres in Kozhikode district and 100 people each are being given the dose, DMO V. Jayasree said.
Vaccination drive begins in Karnataka
Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s virtual launch of COVID-19 vaccination was ongoing, Chandrashekar, a 32-year-old ‘D’ group worker in K.C. General hospital, Bengaluru, was given the jab. He is the first person to have received the vaccination.
After taking the shot, Mr. Chandrashekar said he was feeling proud to be the first recipient. “I was infected with COVID-19 and have recovered. I had resolved to take the vaccine as soon as it is available so that I do not infect others,” he said.
A total of 23,400 healthcare workers including top doctors are taking the vaccine on the inaugural day.
Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, Heath and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar along with Union Mijister Prahalad Joshi participated in the virtual launch at PMSSY hospital on Victoria hospital campus. The hospital was decked up with balloons and flowers for the launch.
At PMSSY hospital, the first recipient – Nagaratna, a ‘D’ group worker at Victoria Hospital, Bengaluru – was given the jab in the presence of Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa. The CM greeted the recipient with roses.
Doctors Sudarshan Ballal and M.K. Sudarshan, who are members of the State’s COVID-19 expert committee, got themselves vaccinated at Victoria hospital. They were among the first five to be vaccinated here.
Speaking after participating in the virtual launch, the Chief Minister said the vaccines were completely safe and there should be no hesitancy in taking it. “Top doctors along with other healthcare workers are taking the vaccine. Today is a historic day and we have reached the final stage of our battle against COVID-19,” he said.
Dr. Lakshmipathy, nodal officer for COVID-19 at K.C. General hospital, who was the among the first five to get the shot at the hospital, said, “all vaccination shots induced mild pain at the injection site; fever and myalgia are common side effects with any vaccine. There is no need to worry about this. The vaccine is completely safe.”
Tumkur District Surgeon T.A. Veerabhadraiah, among the first five who took the jab, said there was absolutely no pain near the injection site. “We have made all arrangements to deal with adverse events following immunisation, if any,” he said.
– Afshan Yasmeen
First shots of vaccine administered in Tamil Nadu
First shot of COVID-19 vaccination was administered to healthcare workers at GRH in Madurai in the presence of Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam.
– S. Sundar
The first dose of vaccine was administered to Tamil Nadu Government Doctors’ Association president K. Senthil.
Indian Medical Association national president J. A. Jayalal, its Tamil Nadu president, P. Ramakrishnan and Government Rajaji Hospital Dean J. Sangumani were among those from the medical fraternity who volunteered to get vaccinated on day one.
In Chennai, R. Jayanthi, dean of Government Medical College Hospital, Omandurar Estate took the vaccine on the first day of launch.
– Serena Josephine M.
Prime Minister Modi flags-off COVID-19 vaccination drive
Prime Minister Narendra Modi flags-off the first phase of the pan-India roll out of the COVID-19 vaccination drive via video conferencing.
“For so many months everyone has been asking when the vaccine (for COVID-19) will come and now it is here. Minutes from now, the world’s largest vaccination drive will begin,” Mr. Modi said.
Congratulating everyone, “especially the scientists who are involved in the process’, the Prime Minister said, “They have worked relentlessly; the process of developing a vaccine takes years, but in such a short time we have been given two made-in-India vaccines.”
This was proof of India’s talent, he said.
‘India’s vaccine drive based on humane protocol’
India’s vaccination programme is based on humane protocol, Mr. Modi said, since the “most vulnerable are getting the vaccination first.”
“Our doctors, nurses, paramedic and cleaning staff have the first claim to this vaccine.”
In the next phase, the 3 crore people involved in essential services — police, fire personnel etc., will be vaccinated.
Dry runs of the immunisation programme were undertaken before the actual roll-out of the vaccination programme, he said, adding, everything was being tracked and recorded.
He reminded people that the COVID-19 vaccination involves 2 doses. “Don’t forget, they are both important. Also remember the gap between the doses,” he said. Only 14 days after taking the complete vaccination will you be protected, he warned.
He asked that COVID-19 protocols be followed even after getting the vaccines.
Calling the vaccination programme a “massive exercise”, Mr. Modi said, “history hasn’t seen such a scale and reach of a vaccination programme.”
Second phase of the drive, which will cover 30 crore people, will see older, vulnerable population getting the vaccine.
The PM said rumours must be kept at bay: “The EUA for the vaccines has come in after proper testing. India has been providing the world with vaccines. There is tremendous faith in India’s vaccines- they are cheaper and easier to use.”
Indian vaccines, he said, used technology best tailored for the country.
Let us believe in ourselves, he exhorted, adding, “When COVID reached India we didn’t have a single testing lab but now we have a robust network of laboratories. And we have enough COVID-19 medical equipment to export.”
‘Learnt from the past’
Mr. Modi said while the past period of the pandemic taught some tough lessons, the period also gave birth to hope: “there was a lot learnt in the period of the pandemic. This virus isolated many in the family- children have been isolated from their mothers, healthcare workers stayed away from families and served those affected by the virus. So, giving them priority in the vaccination drive is our way of honouring them.”
“We turned this around as our strength. We were alert, took early decisive decision. We brought in a high level committee even before the first case. We brought in our first advisory on 17 January. We were among the first to start passenger surveillance. We have shown great resilience so far,” Mr Modi said.
“Lockdown wasn’t an easy decision, but we took care of those who were economically hit. We presented an example to the world.”
“India evacuated its citizens stuck in other countries. The country gave testing labs to countries which were struggling India showed the world how to follow COVID-19 protocols. And because of this, case fatality has come down and recovery rate has gone up. Several districts have recorded no COVID-19 cases in in the past few days.”
“Our vaccination drive and our manufacturing capacity is an example to the world. We are duty-bound to help the world fight this virus.”
‘Vaccination and COVID-19-appropriate behaviour’
“This will be a long-running vaccination programme. Mask/ social distancing and other social protocol are vital even during the vaccination programme. We have to take a new resolution — vaccination and also COVID-19-appropriate behavior.”
“You, your family and the world should stay healthy and safe.”
The Prime Minister launches the world’s largest vaccination programme.
Global COVID-19 death toll tops 2 million amid vaccine rollout
The global death toll from COVID-19 topped 2 million on January 15, crossing the threshold amid a vaccine rollout so immense but so uneven that in some countries there is real hope of vanquishing the outbreak, while in other, less-developed parts of the world, it seems a far-off dream.
The numbing figure was reached just over a year after the coronavirus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The number of dead, compiled by Johns Hopkins University, is about equal to the population of Brussels, Mecca, Minsk or Vienna.
While vaccination drives in rich countries have been hamstrung by long lines, inadequate budgets and a patchwork of state and local approaches, the obstacles are far greater in poorer nations, which can have weak health systems, crumbling transportation networks, entrenched corruption and a lack of reliable electricity to keep vaccines cold enough.
Policy cloud delays Brazil vaccine flight
A special plane from Brazil to carry the first exports of Covishield, the India-made coronavirus vaccine, was delayed on Friday, amid confusion over clearance for the shipment, officials in New Delhi said.
The flight, due to leave Brazil on Thursday and return on Saturday with 2 million doses of the vaccine, was put off, the Brazilian Ministry of Health announced, citing logistical and licensing issues.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through the Embassy in New Delhi, is in constant contact with the Indian authorities, following the letter from President Jair Bolsonaro to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, of January 8, to ensure that the aircraft’s arrival authorised and that the cargo export license is granted without any hitches. The Brazilian Air Force is also involved in issues of authorisation to fly over and land the aircraft,” the Health Ministry in a statement issued in Brasilia said.
According to the officials, Brazilian authorities have now intimated them that the plane would leave Recife in Brazil for the 15,000 km, 18-hour journey to Mumbai on Saturday morning (IST), but only if it receives clearances from India.
China puts 20,000 villagers in quarantine over virus risk
China has sent over 20,000 rural residents living in the epicentre of the country’s latest virus outbreak to state-run quarantine facilities, as Beijing on Friday reported the worst nationwide figures since March. The country had largely brought the virus under control after strict measures, including mass testing and travel restrictions.
However, recent weeks have seen numbers climbing, especially in the north, prompting a fresh wave of lockdowns and restrictions.
Joe Biden’s virus plan: 100 million shots just the start
Getting 100 million shots into Americans’ arms in his first 100 days is only the beginning of his coronavirus plan, President-elect Joe Biden has declared.
Lasting impact, he said, will come from uniting the nation in a new effort grounded in science and fueled by billions in federal money for vaccination, testing and outbreak sleuths.
“You have my word: We will manage the hell out of this operation,” Mr. Biden said on January 15. But he also underscored a need for Congress to approve more money and for people to keep following basic precautions, such as wearing masks, avoiding gatherings and frequently washing their hands.
DCGI nod for phase 3 trials for Sputnik V vaccine
Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories has received Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) approval to conduct phase 3 clinical trial for Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, Sputnik V, in the country.
The phase 3 trial will be conducted on 1,500 subjects as part of the randomised, double blind, parallel group, placebo controlled study in India, the Hyderabad-headquartered drugmaker said. Dr. Reddy’s and Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) had announced a partnership in September on clinical trials for Sputnik V and its distribution rights in India.
“We expect to commence the phase 3 study within this month and will continue to fast-track our efforts to bringing in a safe and efficacious vaccine for the Indian population,” Dr. Reddy’s co-chairman and MD G.V. Prasad said in a statement on Friday.
Dedicated 24×7 call centre — 1075 — set up for the vaccination programme
A dedicated 24×7 call centre — 1075 — has also been established for addressing the queries related to the pandemic, vaccine rollout and the CoWIN software, information released by the Prime Minister’s Office said.
The vaccination drive, where the beneficiaries currently will not have a choice between the two vaccines — Covishield and Covaxin — available in India, has been planned in a phased manner, identifying priority groups, the Health Ministry said.
Healthcare workers, both in the government and private sectors including Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) workers, will receive the vaccine during this first phase.