New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The government on Sunday approved two COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use authorisation in India. The two vaccines which were approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) are Oxford-AstraZeneca's COVISHILED, which is manufactured by Indian vaccine maker, Serum Institute of India (SII), and indigenously prepared Bharat Biotech's COVAXIN.

Soon after the nod by the DCGI, the government has started preparing to inoculate the identified population first, including the frontline workers, healthcare officials, ministers, and senior citizens. According to media reports, quoting top government sources, the Centre has initiated the process of procuring the vaccine shots. The sources added that the inoculation drive could possibly start by the end of next week in a phased manner.

So as the government approves two vaccine candidates, here all you need to know about the vaccines and the process of getting the vaccine:

Which Vaccine candidates got India's approval?

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) had approved Oxford University and pharma major AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by Serum Institute of India (SII), which is touted as the world's largest vaccine maker. Apart from it, the 'Made in India' Bharat BioTech's COVAXIN has also got the approval for the restricted emergency use authorisation in India. Covaxin, however, has been recommended for restricted use in “emergency situation in public interest as an abundant precaution”, in clinical trial mode, to act as an alternative in vaccination.

Who all will be inoculated at first?

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has announced that nearly 30 crore people will be administered with COVID-19 vaccine shots in the first phase in the next six to eight months. The Health Ministry said that vaccine will be first offered to one crore healthcare workers, along with two crore frontline and essential workers and 27 crores elderly, mostly above the age of 50 years with co-morbidities.

What are the preparations by govt to start vaccination drive?

The government has reportedly started procuring doses from the Oxford and will procure 5-6 crore doses to vaccinate three crore frontline and healthcare workers. “The Centre is now looking at striking the purchase deals with the companies concerned. About 50-60 million doses are likely to be procured in batches considering India is looking at vaccinating about 30 million people in the initial phase,” a government official close to the developments reportedly said.

“The paperwork tends to take some time but arrangements are being made to sign the deal as quickly as possible so that the vaccination drive can soon be kick-started. Dry runs have already been successfully conducted across the country without any major glitches. The digital platform, Cowin, meant to be used for vaccine delivery is good to go as minor modifications that were needed have been already made,” the official added.

Once the deals are formally signed and the vaccines procured, the government will supply the vaccines across 31 hubs across the country. “From these 31 main hubs, the supplies will eventually move to 29,000 locally created vaccination points in different states from where state governments will pick up the supplies to be given under the public vaccination initiative. These vaccination points can further be increased if there is a need to add more based on the vaccine requirement,” said another official

Price of Vaccines in India

According to news agency PTI, quoting SII chief Adar Poonawalla, the vaccine will cost USD 3-4 per shot (Rs 219-292) to the government and will be priced at double that rate in the private market once such sales open up. Meanwhile, Bharat Biotech's vaccine is likely to cost Rs 100. However, no official word by any government authority has been confirmed yet on the price of COVID-19 vaccine shot.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan