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Healthcare, frontline workers should get Covid vax first in India: Experts

Healthcare, frontline workers should get Covid vax first in India: Experts
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Healthcare, frontline workers should get Covid vax first in India: Experts

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With the Union government focusing on the immunisation programme when the Covid-19 vaccination process begins, experts on Thursday

New Delhi: With the Union government focusing on the immunisation programme when the Covid-19 vaccination process begins, experts on Thursday said people who are at higher risk of infections such as healthcare and frontline workers, followed by the elderly and those under 50 with comorbidities should be vaccinated first.

According to Bishnu Panigrahi, Group Head, Medical Strategy and Operations at Fortis Hospital, frontline healthcare workers will be the first in line for Covid vaccination.

"Next should be all those involved in public services like municipal workers, those manning public transport, frontline police personnel, those manning essential services like electricity, water supply and disaster management staff," he told IANS.

"Then there should be an age above which all will be vaccinated and those with certain comorbid conditions, irrespective of age, will be vaccinated. Finally, all citizens will be vaccinated," Panigrahi explained.

Recently, Union Health Ministry Secretary Rajesh Bhushan had said that 30 crore people have been listed in prioritised population groups, which involves one crore healthcare workers, two crore personnel from the police department, armed forces, home guard, civil defence organisation and 27 crore people above the age of 50 and below 50 with comorbidities.

Speaking to IANS, Nikkhil K Masurkar, Executive Director, ENTOD Pharmaceuticals, a Mumbai based pharmaceutical company, said that top priority should be given to the healthcare workers, followed by frontline workers, elderly population and those under 50 with comorbidities.

The Union Health Ministry had said that 1.54 lakh vaccinators or auxiliary nurse midwives will administer the Covid-19 vaccine to people under the universal immunization programme when the vaccination process begins.

Dr Shiba Kalyan Biswal, Consultant, Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine, Narayana Hospital in Gurugram, told IANS: "As far as rapid virus spread is concerned immunocompromised patients, diabetic patients along with chronic lung, liver, kidney disease patients, doctors and healthcare staff should be first in the priority list to get this."

According to Dr Neha Gupta, Infectious Diseases Physician at Medanta Hosptial in Gurugram, it should be prioritised for people who are at higher risk of infections and a higher risk of adverse outcomes -- healthcare workers, the elderly, obese patients, patients with heart diseases.

Besides this, key strategies for the vaccination programme involve orderly, smooth implementation driven by technology, no compromise on existing healthcare services, ensuring people's participation and no compromise on scientific and regulatory norms.

With 31,521 new coronavirus cases and 412 deaths in the past 24 hours, India's overall tally stood at 97,67,371 on Thursday, while the death toll reached 1,41,772, the Health Ministry said.

Till now 92,53,306 people have recovered, while there are 3,72,293 active cases. The recovery rate stands at 94.74 per cent, and the fatality rate is 1.45 per cent.

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