India selecting 300 million people for Covid-19 vaccine: Media

The implementation plan aims to cover over 23 per cent of the population. PHOTO: NYTIMES

NEW DELHI (BLOOMBERG, REUTERS) - India is identifying 300 million people who will receive the initial dose of a coronavirus vaccine, the Times of India newspaper reported on Saturday (Oct 17).

Priority will be given to workers in high-risk sectors such as police, healthcare, sanitation, elderly people and those with co-morbidities, the report said, citing officials it did not identify. The shots, which will include a booster dose, are planned for the initial phase once a vaccine is approved for use, according to the report.

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

The beneficiaries of vaccine in the first phase will receive an estimated 600 million doses and the implementation plan aims to cover over 23 per cent of the population, according to the report. India added 62,212 new cases, taking the total infections in the country to 7.43 million as of Oct 17, government data shows.

For a country of its size, a safe and quick vaccine delivery is a top priority for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration. The nation's broken healthcare system, already struggling to deliver adequate care before the outbreak, cannot cope with the strain of a prolonged pandemic.

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.

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