NEWS
18/10/2020 12:07 PM IST

Modi Govt Begins Identifying 300 Million People For Priority Coronavirus Vaccine

The plan, which is still in the draft stage, aims to cover 23% of the population in the first phase.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
NOIDA, INDIA OCTOBER 17: A health worker collects swab samples for coronavirus tests, at Sector 30 District Hospital, on October 17, 2020 in Noida, India. (Photo by Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

MUMBAI — India’s coronavirus infections rose by another 61,871 cases over the previous day and a local media report said on Saturday that the government had begun identifying about 300 million people who would be given the vaccine first when it is ready.

The Times of India said that frontline health and sanitation workers, police officials and elderly people with co-morbidities will get the vaccine on priority.

The plan, which is still in the draft stage, aims to cover 23% of the population in the first phase. The final plan is likely to be ready by end October-November, the report said.

The selected individuals will be given an estimated 600 million doses.

Earlier this month, health minister Harsh Vardhan had said that India hopes to receive up to 500 million doses of coronavirus vaccines by July next year to inoculate about 250 million people.

Officials have said that giving the vaccine to India’s 1.3 billion people will be a mammoth exercise, likely to stretch well into 2022.

India’s cumulative tally of coronavirus infections stood at 7.49 million on Sunday, having risen by 61,871 in the last 24 hours, health ministry data showed.

But the number of active infections slipped below 800,000 for the first time in 1.5 months, which the ministry called a significant achievement.

India has recorded the world’s second-largest number of cases after the United States and worries have been high that there may be further spikes during the ongoing festival season.

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