New Delhi, February 5: A total of 96,28,179 healthcare workers and 78,51,249 frontline workers have been registered for COVID-19 vaccination till February 3, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan told the Lok Sabha on Friday.
The expenditure to be incurred as operational cost for the vaccination of an estimated three crore healthcare and frontline workers is about Rs 480 crore, Vardhan said in a written reply.
The disbursement of funds for meeting the operational cost to the states and Union Territories is being done as per the beneficiaries registered on Co-WIN portal. The disbursement of the first tranche of operational cost is Rs 1,23,49,14,720, he said.
In response to a question on whether the government has decided to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to the entire population free of cost on priority basis, Vardhan said the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) provides guidance on all aspects of coronavirus vaccination including prioritisation of population groups, procurement and inventory management, vaccine selection, vaccine delivery and tracking mechanism among others.
The NEGVAC has prioritized healthcare workers and frontline workers during the initial phase of COVID-19 vaccination followed by prioritized population groups of people aged 50 years and above, and those aged less than 50 years with comorbidities, he said.
“The vaccines are being provided free of cost by the central government for vaccination of healthcare workers and frontline workers and vaccination is being implemented across all states and UTs,” he said.
As per New Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules, 2019 under Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and in light of the urgent need due to COVID pandemic, Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO), headed by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) in consultation with the Subject Expert Committee (SEC), has granted permission to manufacture two coronavirus vaccines, after following the prescribed procedure and evaluation of pre-clinical and clinical trial data for restricted use in emergency situation.
The government is using these two vaccines that have been given the necessary approval by the CDSCO. These two vaccines are Covishield vaccine of Serum Institute of India and Covaxin of Bharat Biotech International limited. (PTI)