Hyderabad: As State Health Department prepares to roll-out the Covid vaccine on January 16, the question on everybody’s mind is when will the vaccine be available to the ‘aam aadmi’. Given the limited initial availability, the Union government has prioritised vaccine administration and is directly procuring the vaccine in bulk from pharma companies.
To prevent healthcare machinery from collapsing and reduce mortality, first priority is being accorded to healthcare workers, essential workers and individuals above 50 years, who form a large chunk of Covid-related mortality. So far, there are no provisions for vaccine allotment for individuals below 50 years who are generally healthy.
“Our best guess is that general public in the State could have access to vaccine by middle or later half of 2021. They would be asked to register in CoWIN software,” senior public health official familiar with the rollout, said.
Health and other government departments have uploaded names of healthcare and frontline workers and in the coming months, guidelines for registration in the CoWIN software will be issued to individuals above 50 years of age group.
At present, Covishield of Serum Institute of India (SII) is the only vaccine to be administered to healthcare and frontline workers. However, in the coming months, a bouquet of vaccines including Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, Russian vaccine Sputnik, being manufactured by Hyderabad-based Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, another vaccine from city-based Biological E Ltd and ZyCov-D of Zydus Cadila will be available for all the identified groups.
Senior officials here said that if Indian pharma companies successfully manufacture the vaccines in bulk, then Union government could allow sale of vaccines through retail drug stores for general public. In Telangana, on the first day of the vaccine rollout, about 13,900 healthcare workers will receive the vaccine.
Overall, MoHFW plans to vaccinate 30 crore Indians in the first phase of Covid vaccination drive. By March or April, all the 3 crore healthcare workers, frontline and essential workers will be vaccinated. Later, close to 27 crore individuals of over 50 years will be vaccinated.
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