Centre estimates to utilize 40-50 cr Covid-19 vaccine doses on 20-25 cr people by July 2021: Vardhan

NEW DELHI, Oct 4: The Centre estimates to receive and utilize 40-50 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccine, covering 20-25 crore people by July next year, and it is preparing a format for the states to submit by October-end their list of priority population to be inoculated, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Sunday.

He said priority would be given to health workers engaged in Covid-19 management in getting inoculated, and asserted the Centre would ensure fair and equitable distribution of vaccines, once they are ready.

During an interaction with his social media followers on the ‘Sunday Samvad’ platform, Vardhan said vaccine procurement would be done centrally, with each consignment tracked real-time until delivery to ensure it reaches those who need it the most and there is no black-marketing.

“A high-level expert group is going into all aspects of vaccines and the health ministry is currently preparing a format in which states will submit lists of priority population groups to receive a vaccine,” the union minister said.

The list of frontline health workers will include both government and private-sector doctors, nurses, paramedics, sanitary staff, ASHAs, surveillance officers and many other occupational categories who are involved in tracing, testing and treatment of patients.

This exercise is targeted to be completed by the end of this October, and the states are being closely guided to also submit details about cold chain facilities and other related infrastructure which will be required down to the block level, Vardhan said.

“The Centre is also working on plans for building capacities in human resources, training, supervision and others on a massive scale and roughly estimates to receive and utilize 400-500 million doses, covering approximately 20-25 crore people, by July 2021. All this is under various stages of finalization,” he said.

The minister had earlier said a Covid-19 vaccine is likely to be available by the first quarter of 2021. (PTI)