India May Start COVID Vaccinations by January: Union Health Min

The health minister stated regulators are looking into emergency use authorisation sought by Pfizer.

2 min read
COVID-19 vaccine. Representational image.

India may start its COVID vaccination drive in January 2021, hinted Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Monday, 21 December. He also stated that regulators are looking into the emergency use authorisation sought by Pfizer for its COVID-19 vaccine.

“Our first priority has been safety and effectiveness of vaccines. We don’t want to compromise on that. I personally feel, maybe in any week of January, we can be in position to give first COVID vaccine shot to people of India.”
Harsh Vardhan, Union Health Minister to ANI

Stating that the Centre has been working with state governments for the past four months with regards to vaccine rollout at the state, district, and block levels, he added that ‘thousands of master trainers have been trained across the country.’

Meanwhile, 30 crore people have been prioritised for the COVID-19 vaccines after consultation with experts, the health minister told ANI. These include health workers, frontline workers like police and military, sanitation staff, people above 50 years of age and those who are below 50 years old but are suffering from certain diseases.

Addressing whether the vaccine will be voluntary, Vardhan told ANI, “Our effort is that everyone in our priority list takes COVID vaccine. We will address the issue of vaccine hesitancy. But if anyone decides not to take it, we can’t force them.”

The Union Health Minister stated that while the worst is over in India, precautions like wearing masks, social distancing still must be followed. “We've just about 3 lakh active cases in India. Few months back, we had about 10 lakh cases. Of over 1 crore total cases, over 95 lakh patients have recovered. We've highest recovery rate,” he told ANI.

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