India to begin Covid-19 vaccine rollout

Jan, 11th 2020 – India is set to launch its vaccination drive for Covid-19 on 16th January 2021. This came as India recorded the second highest number of Covid-19 infections in the world, after the United States. Healthcare personnel and other frontline workers will be among the first to receive the jabs.

According to a government statement, the next in line for the jab will be people aged over 50, and anyone below 59 with serious underlying health conditions. The country’s drugs regulator has approved two vaccines, one developed by AstraZeneca with Oxford University and the other by an Indian firm.

According to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, they aim at vaccinating 300 million people by July. India’s population is 1.3 billion. Modi in a tweet said: “Starting 16th January, India’s nationwide vaccination drive begins. Priority will be given to our brave doctors, healthcare workers and frontline workers.”

Kenya had expected to receive the Oxford University AstraZeneca vaccine next month from the Serum Institute of India. SII CEO Adar Poonawalla had however said that his company had been barred from exporting any shots until it supplied the Indian Government with 100 million doses.

Poonawalla said, “We can only give, the vaccines to the Government of India at the moment.”

Officials have already staged mass trials at vaccination centers across the country and training has been given to about 150,000 staff in 700 districts.

According to Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, the vaccines were to arrive in Kenya by the end of January. He said, “We have ordered vaccines. We are hoping that the vaccines will be here by the end of January or up to the second week of February.”

Poonawalla has however said that the export of the vaccine for Covax might not begin till March or April due to orders by the Indian Government.

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