At the LNJP Hospital in New Delhi Friday, ahead of the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination drive across the country. (Express Photo: Praveen Khanna)

Who will receive the Covid-19 vaccine today?

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 in India?

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.

What are the two Covid-19 vaccines being administered to Indians?

Two vaccines – Covaxin and Covishield – have been granted approval by India’s drug regulator CDSCO. They have received what is known as a “restricted use approval in an emergency situation”, which means they can be used despite the companies not having completed clinical trials.

Covishield is the Indian variant of AZD1222, the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and University of Oxford. It was developed and manufactured in the country by Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII). Covaxin has been developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the National Institute of Virology.

At present, there are 1.1 crore doses of the Serum Institute and 55 lakh doses of Bharat Biotech vaccine available for administration. Each person is administered two shots of both vaccines, 28 days apart.

Apart from these two, four more indigenous vaccines are in the works.

What happens after you are vaccinated?

As people are vaccinated, their data will be uploaded in real-time on the Co-Win platform. The government plans to use Aadhaar to help identify and monitor beneficiaries.

Once vaccinated, the beneficiary will receive a digital certificate. This will help remind him/her when the second dose is to be administered. It will help the government know who has received the dose. After the second dose, a final digital certificate will be generated.

The data on the Co-Win platform will also help in curbing rumours and misinformation about the vaccine and ensuring effective reporting of adverse events, if any, after vaccination.

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