India’s priority list of people identified to be given the anti-coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine, as and when it is available for use, is likely to include elderly people who are 65 years old and above, according to government sources.
“As per the discussions, vaccine administration is likely to happen in phases and top priority is to be given to high-risk population groups that include frontline workers, such as healthcare professionals and people from other departments working to manage the outbreak on ground, and the elderly who are at a greater risk of developing severe disease because of the low immunity and comorbidities,” said a senior government official in the know of things, requesting not to be identified.
“The plan has not been finalised yet, and is still in the works,” the official added.
The centre had constituted the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration, chaired by Dr VK Paul and co-chaired by Union health secretary, Rajesh Bhushan, in August, which is in the process of drafting a time-bound scheme to ensure that people are vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is made available.
“A document has been drafted regarding this, which is in its final stages of preparation, and has already been shared with state governments; their inputs have been taken. We are also in the process of finalising the databases of various priority population groups which will be administered the vaccine if and when it becomes available. We are in close collaboration with the state governments and with the other central ministries regarding the administration of vaccine as well,” said Bhushan during Tuesday’s press briefing on the Covid-19 situation in the country.
Also, according to a recent global analysis of advance market commitments (AMCs) for experimental vaccines till October 8, India has used its manufacturing capability to pre-order 600 million doses of anti-Covid-19 vaccine. It is negotiating for another 1 billion doses, which is enough to vaccinate at least half of its population.