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PM Modi to launch Covid vaccination drive with two-way live webcast on 16 January

The Union Ministry of Health is tight-lipped about the launch, states are busy making preparations for the programme as India prepares to start the Covid vaccination drive.

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to kick-start the Covid-19 vaccination programme in the national capital with a formal virtual launch on 16 January, ThePrint has learnt.

The PM will hold a two-way live interaction with the states during a webcast at the launch.

While the Union Ministry of Health is tight-lipped about the programme, states are busy making preparations for the launch, according to sources.

A notification for the virtual session with the PM was sent to states over the weekend, asking them to select sites with video facilities, and confirm site registration on the government’s Co-Win app.

Sources in five state governments confirmed that they have identified at least one or, in some cases, both sites for the PM’s address.

However, senior officials in the health ministry refused to confirm PM’s interaction at the launch, maintaining that the plans are yet to be firmed up.

Also read: Some doctors & health workers have doubts about Covid vaccines, but they’ll take the shot

Sites identified for webcast

In the national capital, the Delhi government has chosen the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP) Narayan Hospital for the state-level programme. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain are expected to join the interactive webcast with the PM, according to sources.

LNJP Director Dr Suresh Kumar said, “The OPD block has been reserved for the first day of the vaccine rollout. While the second floor will be used for carrying out the procedure, the fifth floor will be used for storage which has capacity to save up to nearly 500 vaccines.”

Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital, the storage facility for Covid vaccine in the capital, is the other site chosen in Delhi, confirmed the hospital director, Dr B.L. Sherwal.

Speaking about the launch, Dr Sanjay Pandit, the nodal officer for vaccination in the hospital, said the timing for the webcast has not been confirmed to the hospital yet, but it will be ready by 9 am. Meanwhile, LNJP department heads have been asked to confirm the names of healthcare workers who are willing to get vaccinated on the first day.

Telangana has chosen the Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad and Narsingi RHC in RangaReddy for the PM’s address Saturday, according to a state health department document seen by ThePrint.

In Maharashtra, two sites have been chosen for the webcast, including the Cooper Hospital in Mumbai, confirmed Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation Commissioner Iqbal Chahal. The other site is a hospital in Pune, said Dr Sanjay Jhadav, OSD to Maharashtra health minister.

Punjab has picked the district hospital in Mohali and the Government Medical College in Amritsar for the programme, said the state’s Covid-19 nodal officer Dr Rajesh Bhaskar.

ThePrint also confirmed the development with Gujarat’s principal health secretary, Jayanti Ravi, who maintained that the sites have been identified, but refused to provide more details.

Vaccine launch

India is set to begin its Covid vaccination programme on 16 January. In the first phase of the drive, health workers both from government and private institutions will be immunised, apart from sanitation workers and other frontline workers, defence forces, police as well as paramilitary forces.

The country has given its nod to two vaccines for emergency use — Covishield by Serum Institute of India and Covaxin by Bharat Biotech.

On Tuesday, the first Covishield consignment landed in the national capital.

Also read: ‘Thought I was getting vaccine’ — Bhopal Covaxin trial site accused of misleading participants


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