The spread of coronavirus affected the entire world in 2020 with the infection resulting in large number of deaths caused due to respiratory failure and associated co-morbidities. It is the elderly population that suffered the most with multiple young citizens contracting the infection on being exposed to the virus unwittingly. The health workers and security personnel are at risk as they have close interaction with the ailing people. The need for developing an effective vaccine has been of utmost importance.
COVID-19 Vaccines in India
Thanks to the diligent work of the researchers and scientists, India approved two of its top COVID-19 vaccines – Covaxin and Covishield. The former has been developed by India’s indigenous company, Bharat Biotech while the credit for the latter goes to Oxford-AstraZeneca. There have been a number of dry runs conducted before introducing COVID-19 vaccines in the country that was rolled out in January.
Who Gets COVID Vaccine First?
Well, this is a million-dollar question with people being anxious to be vaccinated in order to remain immune to the deadly effects of coronavirus. Sadly, the billion-plus population cannot be inoculated instantly with the entire populace crowding the centers. It was decided by the government to vaccinate high-risk groups first that include healthcare and frontline workers with doctors, nurses, paramedics, and staff working in medical facilities being included in the preferential group.
Those in the list also include other frontline workers such as staff working for the, “Integrated Child Development Services” as well as medical students who are constantly present near the patients and note the ongoing treatment procedures carried out by skilled medical professionals.
Individuals working in Government sectors in any capacity that is associated with defence and / or urban affairs or housing have been chosen to obtain the vaccine in the first phase as well.
Next is the senior citizen or people over 50 years of age and people with comorbidities will also be part of priority groups. Yes! There are literally millions of such people and the Government is determined to check the electoral list of State assemblies as well as that of the Lok Sabha elections held in 2019 to find the right individuals ready to be vaccinated. Age will be based on the official date of birth with people born before 1st January 1971 being eligible to receive the vaccine.
How To Register for COVID-19 Vaccine?
Common people below the age of 50 or those without any obvious comorbidities will not be eligible for vaccination at present. However, once the vaccine is open to the public, beneficiaries will have to register and submit ID proof for vaccination. Registration on the Co-WIN app will be required for the coronavirus vaccination too. Once the registration is complete, the beneficiary would receive an SMS on their mobile number regarding the due date, venue and time of COVID-19 vaccination.
There will be multiple centers open to cater to the registration process. Establishing the identity is essential with the option for self registration being made available in the later stages of the process. Each citizen of India will have the option to authenticate their identity by utilizing any of the following methods:-
- Biometric– All the demographic details of an individual including his/her name, address, age and gender provided in Aadhar Card will be used to autofill the fields
- OTP– A one time password will be sent to the registered mobile number of the concerned individual to gain access to demographic details in the Aadhar Card. The fields will be populated automatically on authentication.
- Manual Authentication– An individual willing to take the vaccine may choose to enter the details manually too. It is important to add one’s name, date of birth, gender and select the option of “Demo Authentication.” A green tick appearing on the screen will prove that it has been recorded.
Documents Required for COVID-19 Vaccine
Aadhaar, driving licence, voter ID, PAN card, passport, job card or pension document must be produced at the time of registration. One can also submit Health Insurance Smart Card, MGNREGA card, official IDs issued by MPs, MLAs or MLCs. Passbooks issued by bank or post office and service ID card issued by state or central government and public limited companies would also be accepted. The identity of the beneficiary would be verified before the vaccination.
The photo ID needs to be uploaded in the form of a PDF, JPG or PNG file on the Co-WIN system. However, there is also the provision of obtaining it from the DigiLocker account of the concerned individual.
A date, as well as the time for being vaccinated, will be provided to a registered individual. No person will be entertained without registration, however. There is no option for instant inoculation by arriving on spot.
The date and time for vaccination of registered, pre-registered, and beneficiaries will be decided by the District Administration authorities such as the District Collector (DC) or District Magistrate (DM). The required beneficiaries will be linked appropriately and the site and session decided on the basis of different parameters. The Co-WIN system comes with an in-built mechanism for monitoring the process and reporting the outcome.
How Many Doses Of The Vaccine Would Be Required?
The government has said that two doses of the coronavirus vaccine 28 days apart must be administered for a beneficiary.
You will be taken to the waiting room initially and need to enter the vaccination room when asked to do so. Do not leave the facility the moment you receive the vaccine though. You will be asked to wait for at least 30 minutes in the observation room and report to the authorities if you feel ill afterwards. There are 5 officers appointed to deal with the entire process.
Is It Mandatory To Take The COVID-19 Vaccine?
Being vaccinated lowers the risk of developing an infection. COVID-19 is not an exception to this rule. Yes! There is a fear among people as the outcome of being inoculated with either Covaxin or Covishield is yet to be known. You will not be compelled to take the vaccine, however. It is totally voluntary and you will only have to go forward with this process if you are willing to be inoculated against coronavirus. The Indian Government has advised the population to get the vaccine as per the rules and complete obtaining both the doses as required. This will go a long way to protect you from being infected with COVID-19 and lower your risk if you have been diagnosed with any severe ailments such as cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure.
The procedure for COVID-19 vaccination is being conducted at pre designated facilities that includes public and private hospitals and health centers. Schools and community halls may be used at later stages when it is time to inoculate the masses. The government plans to dispatch experienced mobile teams to vaccinate rural populations living in remote areas. Migratory laborers will also come under this category. People living along international borders will not be left out either.