New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Health Ministry on Tuesday said that the 3 crore healthcare and frontline workers who will be inoculated in the first phase of COVID-19 vaccination drive beginning Saturday will have no option to choose from the two vaccines which have been approved for emergency use.

"At many places in the world, more than one vaccine are being administered, but presently, in no country, vaccine recipients have the option of choosing the shot," said Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan while addressing a press conference.

India had recently granted emergency use authorisation to two vaccines, Oxford's Covishield being manufactured by Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin. Both vaccines, the statement from the Health Ministry said, have established safety and immunogenicity.

Bhushan said there will be a gap of 28 days between two doses of COVID-19 vaccine and its effectiveness will begin 14 days after the second dose. 

54.72 lakh of the entire stock of COVID-19 vaccine doses ordered so far were received by the designated national and state-level vaccine stores till Tuesday afternoon, with the coronavirus inoculation drive set to begin from Saturday, he added.

He said all the orders -- 1.1 crore doses of Covishield from the Serum Institute of India and 55 lakh doses of Covaxin from Bharat Biotech -- will be received by January 14.

The vaccine receipient will get a message one day before they are to be administered the jab. According to officials, 1 crore registrations have already been completed for the vaccination drive on CO-Win app. 

The vaccine will first be given to 1 crore health care workers, followed by two crore frontline workers and 27 crore citizens over the age of 50 and people with co-morbidities.

The government said it expects all states to keep ready all logistics ready for the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine from January 16. There will be continuous oversight and personal involvement on the entire process of roll-out.

Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla on Tuesday said 1.11 crore doses of Covishield vaccine are currently being rolled out in India and there are plans to provide 5 to 6 crore more doses by February even as he described the dispatch of the vaccines for the January 16 national inoculation drive a "proud and historic" moment.

Early Tuesday, the first consignment of the vaccines rolled out of the SII facility in Pune for transport to various locations in the country.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta