New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is reportedly to get his vaccine shot for Covid-19 in the second phase of the inoculation drive against Corona, which is likely to happen in the month of March or April, said two top government officials on Wednesday.
Ahead the launch of this world’s biggest vaccination campaign, the leaders had opposed politicians and VIPs from jumping the queue of inoculation determined by the government and experts.
In its first phase, India is administering vaccines to 30 million healthcare and frontline workers, whereas, the second phase of the programme will involve 270 million people over age group of 50-years and those with compromised immunity or underlying medical conditions that make them vulnerable to Corona.
PM Modi, who is 70-year-old, is likely to be in this batch, said a key official in the vaccination drive. The exact dates hadn’t been determined yet, he added.
“PM will take the vaccine when his turn will come after completion of the first phase,” said a Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) official. Referring to a meeting that held on January 11, two days ahead of the launch of the vaccination programme, the official revealed how PM turned down suggestions of including politicians in the first phase of vaccination. “He himself said this in his meeting with chief ministers that politicians shouldn’t try to break the queue and only take the vaccine when their turn comes,” the official said.
Meanwhile, a official from the Union health ministry, said that the PM might receive his jab by March or April, when his turn comes. Upon being asked if the PM would opt for a particular vaccine, the official refused to respond. “It’s too early to say anything,” he said.
To note, India is currently administering two indigenous vaccines; the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, made by Serum Institute of India and known locally as Covishield, and the Bharat Biotech-manufactured Covaxin.
As per Dr Vinod Paul, member (health) of Niti Aayog and who is leading government’s Covid-19 task force, second phase is crucial. “Phase 2 is our real focus of effort after healthcare and frontline workers. These are people who are above 50 and all political workers would feature in this section.”
Talking about vaccine hesitancy, Dr Pauln also said that the government was trying to fight the prevailing misconception around the Covid-19 vaccine. “We are trying to make ‘role models’ of prominent doctors taking vaccines willingly to remove hesitancy about vaccines,” said Dr Paul, adding, “You must also remember that six lakhs have been given the vaccine already and so they are our role models.’’
As of now, around 10 million healthcare workers are being administered the vaccine. Other frontline workers will perhaps get vaccinated in about a week’s time, said Dr Paul. “It’s not that every doctor or nurse has to be inoculated to begin the next phase. It is being done in waves. Healthcare workers inoculation will go on and the other phases can also start, we have enough supply,” he further added.
However, it isn’t clear whether PM Modi would have to register on the Covid Vaccine Intelligence Network (CoWIN) app, which is being used to monitor vaccinations.
In coming days for faster and easier enrolment of beneficiaries, Centre may allow self-registration by the elderly and those with comorbidities on platform, which is currently closed to the public.