New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Giving an overview of the preparations made by the Centre to administer COVID-19 vaccine to the people, the Health Ministry on Tuesday said that it was ready to roll out the vaccine within 10 days from the date of emergency use authorisation. 

Addressing the media, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that there are four primary vaccine stores called GMSD located in Karnal, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata and there are 37 vaccine stores in the country. The vaccine will be stored in bulk and distributed further from here, he added. 

"The facility including the number of vaccines stored and temperature trackers is monitored digitally. We have this facility for over a decade in the country," Bhushan said. 

The Health Secretary also said the healthcare and frontline workers will not need to register themselves as beneficiary "as their data is bulk database that has been populated on the Co-WIN vaccine delivery management system in a bulk manner".

Balram Bhargava, Director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said that there is no ban on the export of COVID-19 vaccine. 

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on Sunday approved Oxford COVID-19 vaccine Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute, and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country, paving the way for a massive inoculation drive.

The Serum Institute of India, the world's largest vaccine manufacturer, has tied up with AstraZeneca to manufacture Covishield, while Covaxin has been indigenously developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

Going by the Bhushan's statement, the first vaccine shot is likely to be administered by January 13. Meanwhile, the dry run for vaccine is already being carried out across the country. 

The announcement by the government amid the spike in number of the highly infectious strain of mutant Covid that is reaching India with people returning from the United Kingdom. So far, 58 people have tested positive for the new strain. 

The Health Ministry said that no utoward clusters of the new virus were reported in the country as of now. "In terms of new UK variant of SARS-CoV-2, we have not seen emergence of any untoward clusters in country as of now which is reassuring," it said. 

When asked why the DCGI had not approved the Pfizer vaccine candidate for emergency use, Bhushan said: "Pfizer given three opportunities to appear before subject expert committee, they have not appeared so far". 

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta