India's COVID-19 task force head and NITI Aayog member, Dr Vinod Paul, on Friday said that the government with bear the cost of vaccinating 300 million (30 crore) individuals. These individuals will be from the priority groups as identified by the government and not the entire population. Notably, frontline workers, healthcare workers and the elderly will be among those targeted in the initial phase of vaccination.
Speaking to CNBC-TV18, Dr Vinod Paul explained the government's approach for vaccination. He said that the priority groups identified comprise of 300 million individuals and not the entire population. "We are looking at vaccination effort as a holistic public health response. We want to minimise deaths related to COVID-19, hence, we chose higher risk groups," he said.
"India will pitch for vaccines for 300 million individuals," he added and said that the healthcare workers will be targeted in the immediate phase of vaccination across the country. Preparedness for inoculating other groups prioritised by the government is also in its advanced stages, he further said.
Meanwhile, the Central government has finally approved emergency use authorisation of the Oxford-AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine 'Covishield'.
The 10-member Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of India's Central Drug Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) on Friday approved the emergency use authorisation sought by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), the manufacturer of 'Covishield'.
Now, the application will be sent to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for final approval.