New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: With Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) expert panel giving its nod to Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine 'Covishield' for emergency use, it is almost certain that India will get its first vaccine against the deadly coronavirus soon.

However, many people are still wondering when they would get a vaccine shot and what will be its price. All these queries have been answered by COVID-19 task force head Dr Vinod Paul who said that nearly 30 crore people, belonging to priority groups, will be inoculated in first phase of vaccination in India.

While speaking to an English news channel, Dr Paul said that the 30 crore individuals -- doctors, nurses and health care staff -- will get vaccine shot in next six to eight months across India.

He also said that the government will bear the cost of vaccinating the 30 crore individuals belonging to priority groups, noting that 31 centres have been set up to supply vaccines to 29,000 vaccination points in "last-mile delivery".

"We are working as one team in India - the industry, the government and the stakeholders. Implementation arms of the government are working in sync with each other. We are on the same page as the industry," he was quoted as saying.

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"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 added.

Dr Paul's statements come a day after an expert panel gave its nod for emergency use authorisation to Oxford-AstraZeneca which is being manufactured by Serum Institute of India (SII). Though the final decision will be taken by Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), media reports have indicated that India will soon get its first COVID-19 vaccine.

Amid this, the Union Health Ministry on Saturday conducted a natiowide dry run to assess the preparedness to launch a COVID-19 vaccine across the country. The dry run was conducted in all state and UT capitals and some selected states.

The Health Ministry has also announced its plan on how vaccination will be done across the country in first phase.

"The communication strategy that supports the COVID-19 vaccines roll-out in India seeks to disseminate timely, accurate and transparent information about the vaccine(s) to alleviate apprehensions about the vaccine, ensure its acceptance and encourage uptake," the Health Ministry document read, as reported by Hindustan Times.

"The strategy will also serve to guide national, state and district level communication activities, so that the information on the COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination process reaches all people, across all states in the country," it added.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma