The Centre estimates to receive and utilise 40-50 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccine covering 20-25 crore people by July next year and it is preparing a format for the states to submit by October-end their list of priority population group to receive the vaccine, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Sunday.

He said priority would be given to health workers engaged in COVID-19 management in getting the vaccine.

During an interaction with his social media followers on ‘Sunday Samvad’ platform, he said a high-level expert group is going into all the aspects of vaccines and the health ministry is preparing a format in which states will submit lists of priority population groups.

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.

“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.

The minister stated that a high-level committee under the chairmanship of Niti Aayog Member (Health) Dr V K Paul is drawing up the entire process.

“This is a work in progress which will be completed by the time the vaccines are ready to ensure the swift roll-out of an immunisation programme.”

He also assured the social media followers that there would be no diversion or black-marketing of the vaccine.

He stressed on the need to prioritise healthcare workers and adults or those who have underlying health conditions.

To a question regarding the phase-three clinical trial of Russia’s ‘Sputnik-V’ vaccine in India, Vardhan clarified that the matter was still under consideration, and no decision has been taken yet.

Source: Mid Day

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