The national capital is all set for the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccination exercise on Saturday at 81 centers with healthcare workers who have been at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic to be given the shots first.
The inoculation drive will be kicked off from the state-run LNJP Hospital with a simple ceremony in the presence of Chief Minister Kejriwal and Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain.
The 81 sites include six central government facilities — AIIMS, Safdarjung Hospital, RML Hospital, Kalawati Saran Children Hospital and two ESI hospitals.
The rest 75 centres, spanning all 11 districts of Delhi, include Delhi government-run facilities such as LNJP Hospital, GTB Hospital, Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital, DDU Hospital, BSA Hospital, Delhi State Cancer Institute, ILBS Hospital, and private facilities such as Max Hospital, Fortis Hospital, Apollo Hospital and Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
A senior official on Thursday had said Oxford COVID-19 vaccine Covishield will be administered at 75 centers while Bharat Biotech-made Covaxin doses will be given at the remaining six facilities.
However, he did not clarify which of these hospitals will be the six centres where the vaccine made by Bharat Biotech will be used.
Kejriwal has said the Delhi government is fully prepared for the vaccination roll-out starting January 16, with over 8,000 healthcare workers to be given the shots every scheduled day in the national capital.
The city government has received in total 2.74 lakh doses of the vaccine so far from the Centre, which would be sufficient to cater to 1.2 lakh healthcare workers, he said.
“Every person will receive two doses, and the Centre has given 10 per cent extra in stock, in case of any mishappening, like damage of vials. There are a total of 2.4 lakh healthcare workers in Delhi who have registered for vaccination, and more doses are expected to arrive soon,” he said.
The vaccine will be administered on four days of the week — Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. It will not be given on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays when other regular vaccination work will be carried out.
Each day 100 persons will be administered the vaccine at a site, he said and hoped the people of Delhi and the rest of the country will finally get rid of the virus after facing hardships for past several months.
Delhi has recorded over 6.31 lakh COVID-19 cases and 10,722 coronavirus deaths till Thursday, out of which 6,17,930 patients have recovered, been discharged or migrated.
The city government has announced that the vaccine will be provided to people in Delhi for free-of-cost. The immunisation exercise is voluntary.
Various hospitals, both government-run and private facilities, are also geared up for the roll-out. From Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in North Delhi to Apollo Hospital in south Delhi, hospital authorities said they were all set for the exercise, with two dry-run already done in the past several days.
“Vaccination will commence after the nationwide inauguration of COVID-19 vaccination programme by the prime minister, and it will include 100 healthcare workers, including a mix of doctors, nurses and paramedical staff,” said Dr D S Rana, Chairman (Board of Management), SGRH.
The first batch of Oxford Covishield vaccine containing 2.64 lakh doses had reached the Delhi’s central storage facility at Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital on Tuesday.
Also, 20,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin made by Bharat Biotech had arrived at the RGSSH on Wednesday, officials said on Thursday, adding that the vaccine had been sent to various centres, but did not specify on the quantum of doses transported there.
India’s drugs regulator has approved Oxford COVID-19 vaccine Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute, and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country.
Dr Suneela Garg, public health expert and professor of excellence at Maulana Azad Medical College here, said the roll-out system will work akin to an electoral exercise.
“Those who have registered themselves, will get an SMS message, ahead of the actual day of vaccination, telling about the location of the centre and the date of vaccination,” she said.
“At every site, one officer will check details and match it with those shown on CoWIN app for people, following which the necessary documents will be checked and then they will be taken one by one for vaccination,” she said.
There will be a nodal officer at each vaccination centre, which will have a waiting room, a vaccination room and an observation room, and social distancing norms will be in place.
COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network or CoWIN app and its ecosystem will be used to manage and scale up the massive vaccination drive.
Everything will be fed to the database in real-time. Also, the person after being vaccinated will be kept under observation for any AEFI (adverse events following immunisation), Garg said.
The Delhi government is fully prepared to receive, store and administer COVID-19 vaccine to 51 lakh priority category persons in the city in the first phase of vaccination, Kejriwal had earlier said.
These include healthcare workers, who will be first to receive, followed by frontline workers, people aged above 50, and those below 50 years but with co-morbidities, he added.