3 crore frontline warriors to be given priority in vaccine distribution: Centre

3 crore frontline warriors to be given priority in vaccine distribution: Centre

Gangtok, October 23: The Centre Government’s Union Health Secretary, Rajesh Bhushan on October 20’s weekly briefing for COVID-19, announced that when the vaccine for the coronavirus is ready, the priority for its distribution will be given to the three crore frontline warriors which include the 70 lakh doctors and paramedics, in addition to 2 crore other frontline health workers. Bhushan also assured during this weekly briefing that the Government already has all the infrastructure like the cold chain, vials, syringes among others already in place for the purpose of vaccinating the three crore frontline warriors.

As the initial phase of vaccinations will provisionally take place between January and July 2021, Bhushan has said that during the consultation with national expert committees for vaccine administration, in which they came up with a draft prioritization plan for the three crore frontline warriors to be given priority in the distribution of and when the vaccine for COVID-19 is available, while also trying to match the numbers which have come from this draft plan to the number of doses that would become provisionally available from January to July 2021.

Nonetheless, the Director-General of the Indian Council of Medical Research, Dr. Balram Bhargava has warned people to not be careless even after a vaccine becomes available, he says, “We have to remain cautious, we have to test, treat and isolate for a good time. The requirement for this may gradually reduce over time, but there is no scope for relaxation.”

Bhargava also assured that there are already 28,00 cold storage spaces in India because the country already immunizes 2.5 crore, children and adults, every year, on top of the country has its own digital platform that has all the updated information – from vaccine procurement to storage, cold chain, and transportation in refrigerated vehicles.

In other news of COVID-19, recently it came to light that the Maharashtra government according to an announcement by the state’s Health Minister Rajesh Tope, has fixed the prices for the N95 and double-triple layer (surgical) masks, making Maharashtra the first state to set a fixed price of facemasks in the nation. The N95 masks are to be priced between ₹19 and ₹49, and the double and triple-layered masks in Maharashtra are to be sold for no more than ₹3 and ₹4 respectively.

Tope made a statement- “To prevent the spread of coronavirus, the state has been appealing to citizens to wear masks and is also penalizing those not wearing them. Therefore, masks had to be made affordable for the common man. The chief minister and the deputy chief minister have approved the initiative to cap the prices of masks.”

The above-mentioned prices are to be applicable to all manufacturing companies, wholesalers, distributors, and retail sellers until the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 is implemented in Maharashtra. It has also been mandated to install a board specifying the prices of the N95 and double-triple layer (surgical) masks.