The process of procurement and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines is being worked out by a high-level committee

India is planning to procure nearly 500 million COVID-19 vaccine doses once they become available after clearing the trials and obtain regulatory approvals. These will be used to vaccinate 2-2.5 million people across the country by July 2021, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan said today.

Discussing the issue during the fourth episode of Sunday Samvaad, he said the topmost priority would be given to frontline healthcare workers.

“The list of frontline health workers will include both government as well as private sector doctors, nurses, paramedics, sanitary staff, ASHA workers, surveillance officers and many other occupational categories who are involved in tracing, testing and treatment of patients,” the minister said. State governments will also be asked to submit lists of priority population groups to receive the vaccine, especially health workers.

The entire process of procurement and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines is being worked out by a high-level committee under the chairmanship of Niti Aayog Member (Health) VK Paul which is drawing up the entire process.

“Vaccine procurement is being done centrally and each consignment will be tracked real time until delivery to ensure it reaches those who need it most,” Harsh Vardhan said.

“Vaccines will be distributed as per pre-decided priority and in a programmed manner. To ensure transparency and accountability, details of the entire process will be shared in the coming months,” he explained.

Commitments are being obtained from vaccine manufacturers to make available the maximum number of doses for India’s inventory after understanding the timelines of availability of various vaccines in the country.

States are being guided to submit details about cold chain facilities and other related infrastructure which will be required down to the block level. The Centre is also working on plans for building capacities in HR, training, supervision etc on a massive scale, the health minister said.

India meanwhile continued its steady trend of reporting less than 10 lakh active cases for the 13th day in a row. The number of active cases today was 9,37,625, which is 7,371 cases less than yesterday, the health ministry said in its latest data.

Despite the extended weekend, India has posted high daily testing numbers over Thursday, Friday, and Saturday with 10,97,947, 11,32,675 and 11,42,131 tests respectively.