Young and healthy healthcare workers are among the first lot of frontline medical staff who will be vaccinated for COVID-19 from tomorrow, a member of Delhi’s task force to tackle the pandemic told NDTV.
Most of those who will be vaccinated in the immediate phase will be below 50 years old, and among them the majority will be nurses, ward boys and young doctors, the task force member Dr Suneela Garg told NDTV.
“This is being done as they perform maximum duties in hospitals. Also, they are likely to experience lesser side effects. This will help in boosting the confidence of the general public in the vaccines,” Dr Garg said.
“More than 80 per cent of healthcare workers are less than 50 years old… Important to vaccinate majority of the young workforce first,” she said.
She said every person inoculated with Covaxin – the vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech – will have to sign a consent form since Covaxin was cleared by the regulator only for “clinical trial mode”.
Dr Garg, who is also director and professor in the department of community medicine at Maulana Azad Medical College, said the signing process is unlikely to take much time as the government has already given a lot of information to the public about Covaxin’s safety and people are aware of the details.
Around 30 crore people will be vaccinated in the next few months during the nationwide inoculation drive. At least three crore healthcare and frontline workers will be vaccinated in the first phase. In the second phase, those above 50 years and those under 50 years with co-morbid conditions will be vaccinated, according to the government.
The centre has warned against interchangeability of vaccines. “The second dose of the vaccine should also be of the one that was administered as first dose,” the government said in a rulebook it shared with the states.
The vaccination drive will use CoWIN, an online platform developed by the Health Ministry to facilitate real-time information of vaccine stocks, storage temperature and tracking of vaccine recipients.
A 24×7 hotline – 1075 – has also been set up to address questions related to the vaccine rollout.