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Covid-19 vaccine drive begins in India, Ladakh soldiers given priority over other army personnel

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date
Covid-19 vaccine drive begins in India, Ladakh soldiers given priority over other army personnel

New Delhi: World’s biggest vaccination drive against the deadly Covid-19 will be flagged off today as India deploys Military doctors, paramedics and front-line soldier in eastern Ladakh to vaccinate the first set of armed forces personnel among its set mission to administer inoculation to its priority groups consisting three crore frontline workers.

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The ambitious vaccination campaign, with reportedly 3,006 vaccination centres, will be kick started by the PM Narendra Modi on January 16. In the first phase of immunisation against Novel Corona Virus, two indigenous vaccines, Covaxin and Covishield, will be administered to priority groups. The vaccination campaign will be held daily from 9am to 5pm, barring the days earmarked for routine immunisation programme.

As of now, all pallets of Serum Institute of India’s Covishield vaccines have reportedly reached all state capitals and their distribution to the districts and blocks is on. Similarly, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, a backup to Covishield, has also arrived in some states, as revealed by some official working under this drive.

Meanwhile, more than 12,000 doses of the vaccine have reportedly reached Ladakh, India and China are locked in a tense border standoff, of which around 4,000 will be given to armed forces personnel to protect them from Covid-19, officials familiar with the development revealed.

“Top priority is being given to military doctors and medical staff who have been at the forefront of the fight against Covid-19. Front-line soldiers have also been identified for vaccination,” said the official.

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With case record of one crore and 5.27 lakh people been infected by the virus and nearly 1.52 lakh mortalities due to this pandemic, India tries hard to contain this virus. However, the armed forces have been able to keep a check on the spread of the disease within its ranks by adhering to strict protocols, even as army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane described the pandemic and the situation on the northern borders as the main challenges the army confronted last year.

As per experts it was critical to protect frontline military personnel from the disease.

“It is absolutely critical to vaccinate the military medical staff and front-line soldiers against Covid-19, given the crucial role being discharged by them in harsh conditions. Others who are not directly part of the military set up but play a key role in keeping the system in forward areas up and running should also get the vaccine on priority,” said Lieutenant General BK Chopra (retd), ex-director general of the Armed Forces Medical Services.

He further said that the armed forces would have prioritised the list of personnel who have to be vaccinated ahead of others keeping their roles and service conditions in mind. “I am sure all drills are in place to ensure that people are vaccinated on priority according to the government’s guidelines.”


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