India’s COVID-19 vaccine: Who’ll get it, when and how

India’s drug regulator has approved the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII), an indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech restricted emergency use in the country. The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) approved based on recommendations by a COVID-19 Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).

As the DCGI’s approval clears the way for the roll-out of at least two vaccines in India in the coming days, here is all you need to know about the vaccination drive in the country:

> Will the COVID-19 vaccine be given to everyone simultaneously?

The government has identified high-risk groups to be vaccinated on priority.

The first group includes healthcare and frontline workers# The second group will be people over 50 years and persons with comorbid conditions

Subsequently, the vaccine will be made available to all others in need

> Is it mandatory to take the vaccine?

Vaccination for COVID-19 is voluntary. However, it is advisable to receive the complete schedule of the COVID-19 vaccine to protect oneself and limit the spread of the disease.

> Is it necessary for a COVID-19 recovered person to take the vaccine?

It is advisable to receive a complete schedule of COVID-19 vaccine irrespective of the history of coronavirus infection as it will help develop a strong immune response.

> Can a person having COVID-19, either confirmed or suspected, infection be vaccinated?

Infected individuals should defer vaccination for 14 days after symptoms are resolved as they may increase the risk of spreading the virus to others at the vaccination site.

> Will the vaccine introduced in India be as effective as the ones introduced in other countries?

Yes. The COVID-19 vaccine introduced in India will be as effective as any vaccine developed by other countries as various vaccine trials are undertaken to ensure its safety and efficacy.

> How will I know if I am eligible for vaccination?

Eligible beneficiaries will be informed through their registered mobile numbers regarding the Health Facility for vaccination and its scheduled time.

> What documents are required for the registration of eligible beneficiaries?

Any of the below-mentioned ID with photo may be produced at the time of registration:

Aadhaar/Driving License/Voter ID/PAN Card/Passport/Job Card/Pension Document# Health Insurance Smart Card issued under the scheme of Ministry of Labour# MGNREGA# Official identity cards issued to MPs/MLAs/MLCs# Passport issued by Bank/Post Office

Service ID card issued by Central/State Government/Public Limited Companies

> Can a person get the COVID-19 vaccine without registration?

No, registration is mandatory for COVID-19 vaccination.

> If a person is unable to produce a Photo ID at the session site, will s/he be vaccinated?

Photo ID is a must for both registration and verification at the session site.

> How will the beneficiary receive information about the due date of vaccination?

Following online registration, the beneficiaries will receive SMS on their mobile numbers about the due date, place, and vaccination time.

If one is taking medicines for illnesses like Cancer, Diabetes, Hypertension, etc., can s/he take the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes.

> How many doses of the vaccine would have to be taken, and at what interval?

Two doses of vaccine, 28 days apart, need to be taken by an individual to complete the vaccination schedule.

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