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INDIA'S COVID-19 VACCINATION DRIVE BEGINS TODAY

India's Covid-19 vaccination drive: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the inoculation drive at 10.30 am today by addressing 3,006 vaccination sites across the country via video-conferencing. The world's biggest inoculation drive against the novel coronavirus will begin Saturday as India starts vaccinating three crore of its frontline workers. In the first phase, two indigenous vaccines, Covaxin and Covishield, will be administered to priority groups. Over one crore and 5.27 lakh people have been infected by the virus in India so far, and close to 1.52 lakh have died. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the inoculation drive at 10.30 am Saturday by addressing 3,006 vaccination sites across the country via video-conferencing.

  • Who will receive the Covid-19 vaccine on Saturday? 

The priority groups include health workers, safai karmacharis, the Army and disaster management volunteers. The government has said around 100 people will receive shots at each of the 3,006 vaccination sites in the country on Saturday. The first phase of vaccination is likely to be completed in a few months.

  • How will the vaccination drive be conducted?

Given India has a population of 130 crore people, the country is drawing on its experiences of holding elections to conduct the vaccine drive. The Ministry of  Home Affairs has even requested the Election Commission (EC) to share the latest electoral roll data for Lok Sabha and Legislative Assembly elections to identify people belonging to the priority groups. The exercise will be conducted for those above the age of 18. Each site, which will function like an election booth does, will have three hard copies of the beneficiary list. These names will also be uploaded by officials to the government's Co-Win portal - Saturday's list was uploaded two days in advance. An official said: " The vaccination session is from 9 am to 5 pm. Whoever comes till 5 pm will be vaccinated even after 5 pm, just like how it happens in elections." The Prime Minister has said India will also utilise its experience from the Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) and people's participation (Jan Bhagidari) in the exercise.

  • Is the vaccine free?

The vaccines being administered in the first phase will be free. "The Centre will bear the expenses for vaccinating the 3 crore priority population," PM Narendra Modi had said earlier this week.

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