The Union health ministry, in a press briefing on Tuesday, stated that it is ready to roll out the coronavirus vaccine by 13 January, and added that the Central Government will make a final decision on the launch date soon.
The ministry, also releasing latest COVID-19 data in India, asserted that there were no 'untoward clusters' of the new virus strain, which was first detected in Britain.
Here are the key takeaways from the presser:
1) The health ministry is ready to roll out the coronavirus vaccine in India as early as 13 January, which is just 10 days from the day the government granted Emergency Use Approval to two vaccine candidates, the indigenously produced Oxford Astrazenca vaccine and the locally developed Bharat Biotech's Covaxin.
2) Professor Balrama Bhargava, director general, Indian Council of Medical Research has said that there is no ban on the export of vaccine. Earlier, there were some concerns raised after initial indication by vaccine manufacturer that they will supply vaccine to India's vulnerable population before exporting it overseas. India is a leading drugs and vaccine supplier for many South Asian and developing countries across the globe.
3) The ministry also said that thus far, the new strain of the virus found in the UK has been detected in 71 people. However, there is no untoward cluster of the new strain, the ministry added.
"In terms of the new UK mutant issue, this mutation has entered this country and 71 have been isolated which shows our capacity to mount that kind of a scientific investigation. But at the same time we have not seen the emergence of any untoward cluster in the country as of now which is reassuring so far," NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr VK Paul said.
4) On the two vaccines that have been granted approval for restricted emergency use by the DCGI, Paul reiterated that in granting this permission and authorisation all scientific and statutory requirements have been met and regulatory norms followed.
5) The vaccine roll-out will be facilitated by the indigenously developed Co-Win app which will be a compiled database for the inoculation programme and a way to track recipient's health and progress.
6) For Phase 1 of vaccine roll-out, healthcare workers and frontline workers won't have to register themselves as their database has been populated on to the Co-WIN vaccine delivery management system in a bulk manner. However, when the inoculation programme reaches the stage where the population priority group is receiving the shot, then the provision of registration and editing of data would be made available.
7) Co-WIN will have a provision that one can create a unique health ID and to store the acknowledgement receipt in digi locker which is free to use. "In case of an adverse event, to ensure its real time reporting there is a provision in Co-WIN vaccine delivery management system," health secretary Bhushan said.
8) Bhushan further said that Co-WIN has the facility of automated session allocation, Aadhaar authentication to prevent malpractice, creation of Unique Health ID for willing beneficiaries, reporting and tracking of adverse events following immunization, if any, SMSes in 12 languages to guide beneficiaries and vaccinators, QR code-based vaccination certificate issued after all doses, DigiLocker integrated for data retrieval and storing QR code-based certificate, 24x7 Helpline including IT professionals.
9) Bhushan said of the total active COVID-19 cases presently, 43.96 percent patients are at healthcare facilities, while 56.04 percent are in home isolation. "India's cumulative COVID-19 positivity rate has declined to 5.87 percent; last week positivity rate was recorded at 1.97 percent. Overall burden on healthcare infrastructure in country on account of COVID-19 has declined appreciably," he said.
10) The average COVID-19 recovered cases have been exceeding the average daily new cases for last five weeks, the health ministry said, adding that daily positivity rate of COVID-19 is continuously declining and has been less than 3 percent from 23 December, 2020, to 5 January 2021.
11) Of the total active COVID-19 cases presently, 43.96 percent patients are in healthcare facilities, while 56.04 percent are in home isolation.
12) India's cumulative COVID-19 positivity rate has declined to 5.87 percent; last week positivity rate was recorded at 1.97 percent. Overall burden on healthcare infrastructure in country on account of COVID-19 has declined appreciably, the health ministry said.