Around 3 lakh healthcare workers will be inoculated at 2,934 sites across the country on the first day of the massive nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive which is set to begin from January 16, official sources said.
Each vaccination session will cater to a maximum of 100 beneficiaries and the Union Health Ministry has advised states not to organise 'unreasonable numbers of vaccination per site per day'.
"States have been advised to organise vaccination sessions taking into account 10 per cent reserve/wastage doses and an average of 100 vaccinations per session each day.
"Therefore, any undue haste on the part of states to organize unreasonable numbers of vaccination per site per day is not advised," the ministry said on Wednesday.
It also said that states and UTs have also been advised to increase the number of vaccination session sites that would be operational every day in a progressive manner as the vaccination process stabilizes and moves forward.
"Around 3 lakh frontline healthcare workers will be inoculated at 2,934 sites across the country on the first day of January 16," a source said.
The government on Tuesday hinted that vaccine recipients for now will not have the option to choose from the two vaccines -- Oxford COVID-19 vaccine, Covishield, manufactured by Serum Institute of India (SII) and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech -- that have been approved for restricted emergency use in India.
According to the Health Ministry getting vaccinated for COVID-19 will be voluntary.
In a response to a question, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan at a press conference on Tuesday said, "At many places in the world more than one vaccine are being administered. But, presently, in no country vaccine recipients have the option of choosing the shots."
According to the government, the shots will be offered first to an estimated one crore healthcare workers, and around two crore frontline workers, and then to persons above 50 years of age, followed by persons younger than 50 years of age with associated comorbidities.
The cost of vaccination of healthcare and frontline workers will be borne by the central government, officials had said.
All 1.65 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines -- 1.1 crore of Covishield and 55 lakh of Covaxin -- procured by the Centre have been allocated to all states and UTs in proportion to their healthcare workers database, it said.
According to official sources, most of the 1.1 crore Covishield doses from Pune-based SII have been shipped to 60 consignee points across India from where they will be sent to smaller centres.
Of the 55 lakh doses of indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech ordered by the Centre, the first tranche of 2.4 lakh doses has been dispatched to 12 states.
Covaxin has been sent to 12 sites --- one each in Ganavaram, Guwahati, Patna, Delhi, Kurukshetra, Bengaluru, Pune, Bhubaneswar, Jaipur, Chennai, Lucknow and Hyderabad, an official source said.
Covaxin has been developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Health Ministry officials said that there will be a gap of 28 days between two doses of COVID-19 vaccines and its effectiveness can be seen only after 14 days, and urged people to keep following COVID appropriate behaviour.
The ministry which has listed series of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on COVID-19 vaccine also stated that it was advisable to receive a complete schedule of the anti-coronavirus vaccine irrespective of past history of coronavirus infection as this will help in developing a strong immune response against the disease.
On whether a person with an active COVID-19 infection be vaccinated, AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria said a person with active and symptomatic COVID-19 infection may increase the risk of spreading the same to others at the vaccination site and thus infected individuals should defer vaccination for at least 14 days after the symptoms are resolved.
Elaborating on the possible side-effects of COVID-19 vaccine, Guleria said that as is true for other vaccines, some will have some degree of side effects in some individuals which could be in form of mild fever, pain at the site of injection, body ache, etc.
States have been asked to making arrangements to deal with any COVID-19 vaccine related side effects as one of the measures towards safe vaccine delivery.