Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan recently confirmed that India will get a COVID-19 vaccine in the first quarter of 2021. The Central government estimates that 30 crore priority beneficiaries would be given COVID-19 vaccine by July 2021. This immunisation programme would run in parallel with the Universal Immunisation Program whose aim is to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
The Ministry of Health in consultation with states is actively working to prioritise the groups that should receive the COVID-19 vaccine first. Priority population is that section of people who are at a higher risk of contracting the virus.
Many discussions have been happening at different forums as to who should be given priority so that the country can reduce fatalities due to coronavirus.
To reduce the number of positive cases and deaths, frontline health workers also referred to as Corona warriors, vulnerable groups such as senior citizens, and those having comorbidities, have been given top priority by the government.
Here are the people who fall under the priority list and will be inoculated first:
• One core healthcare workers and professionals – including doctors, MBBS students, nurses and ASHA workers since they are engaged in handling COVID-19 patients
• Frontline workers including municipal corporation workers, police personnel and personnel of Armed forces
• Senior citizens and those who have comorbidities – as they are at a greater risk of COVID-19. People who are above 65 years of age, those from 50 to 65 years of age & those below 50 years who have other diseases
• Those with diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and cardiovascular disease
According to Maritime Union of India, 90% of world trade takes place through sea routes currently. And, since the outbreak of the pandemic, Indian seafarers have working contitnously aboard cargo ships worldwide to maintain the regular supply of merchandise, including essential items like food, fuel and medicines.
• Olympic-bound athletes
Tokyo Olympics-bound athletes and the support staff will be given priority when a vaccine is available for COVID-19. The postponed Tokyo Olympics is scheduled to be held from July 23 to August 8 next year. Sports minister Kiren Rijiju also said priority will also be given to any big event happening.
Since the Olympic qualification events are going to happen, India could see more national and international events in the coming months.
National Sports Federations and the IOA will come out with plans for hold different national and international events in India. The sports minister said quarantine rules will be relaxed for international events to be held in India.
• Nepal's requirement would be priority for India
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla addressing an audience at Kathmandu on Nov 27 assured the people of Nepal that once India rolls out a vaccine against COVID-19, meeting Neptal’s requirement will be a priority for New Delhi.