'Not just Delhi': Harsh Vardhan says COVID-19 vaccine will be free across the country
'Not just Delhi': Harsh Vardhan says COVID-19 vaccine will be free across the country
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On being asked if COVID-19 vaccine will be provided free of cost, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan informed that not just in Delhi, the vaccine will be free across the country.

After reviewing the dry run at a government hospital, Vardhan told the reporters, "I want to appeal to people to not believe in any rumours. Our prime criteria in the vaccine trial are the safety and efficacy and nothing will be compromised."

In Delhi, mock-drives are being conducted at three sites -- government-run Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital in Shahdara, a primary health centre in Daryaganj, and private Venkateshwara hospital in Dwarka.

The Union Minister reminded that "different kinds of rumours were also spread during polio immunisation, but people took the vaccine and now India is polio-free".

Notably, the coronavirus vaccine is slated to be soon rolled out.

The Oxford-AstraZenaca vaccine has been recommended by the expert panel tasked with vetting Covid-19 vaccine proposals and has been forwarded to the Drug Controller General of India for approval.

"The Drug Controller General of India will soon give its recommendation on the applications," assured Vardhan.

Once formalized, the vaccine -- globally known as AZD1222 -- will be the first silver bullet for the country, which has witnessed over one crore cases and nearly 1.5 lakh deaths till now.

A mega-drill is being conducted in all the states and union territories across 259 sites on Saturday to equip the administration in the management of vaccine supply, storage and logistics, including cold chain management.

The objective of the dry run for Covid-19 vaccine introduction is to assess operational feasibility in the use of Co-WIN application in a field environment, to test the linkages between planning and implementation and to identify the challenges and guide the way forward prior to actual implementation.

Each mock drill site will have a waiting area, observation room and vaccination room.

There are 25 beneficiaries -- all health care workers -- who will be present at each site and vaccination team will demonstrate how they will be registered, how vaccines will be given, and how they will be monitored for adverse events.

On December 28 and 29, a dry run for the Covid-19 vaccination was conducted in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh; Rajkot and Gandhinagar district of Gujarat; Ludhiana and Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar of Punjab and Sonitpur and Nalbari districts of Assam.

(With inputs from IANS)

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