Days after granting the emergency use approval to two Covid-19 vaccines, the government has announced that the immunization drive will begin with 10 days.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that the government was ready to roll out the vaccine drive within 10 days from approval. “Now since the approval has been granted, the vaccine drive will be rolled out within 10 days from that day [Sunday, January 3],” he said.

On Sunday, the Drug Controller General of India granted AstraZeneca’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin emergency use approval. The first phase of immunization will be carried out by the government that will focus on health care workers, emergency service employees and the elderly.

How Covid-9 vaccine will reach people

Speaking to media, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan revealed how the approved vaccines will travel from manufacturers to the beneficiaries.

Addressing a press conference, the health secretary said that the manufacturers will send the vaccine to the Government Medical Store Department depots at Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and Karnal in Haryana by air.

The vaccine will then travel to 37 state vaccine stores from where it will go to district vaccine stores which will then supply primary health care centres, designated as Covid-19 immunization centres.

The health secretary said that India currently has 29,000 cold chain points where the approved vaccines Covishield and Covaxin can be stored safely.

Coronavirus update: With 16,278 fresh Covid-19 cases, India’s caseload now stands at 10,357,569. The country’s death toll is nearing 150,000. With 1,947,011 cases, Maharashtra has the highest number of coronavirus cases, followed by Karnataka 921,938, Andhra Pradesh  883,210, Tamil Nadu 820,712, and Kerala 778,873. The world’s biggest inoculation drive against the coronavirus is set to begin in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday, a day after the drugs regulator approved two vaccines — Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute, and Bharat Biotech’s indigenously developed Covaxin — for restricted emergency use.

Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech on Tuesday said they will work together to develop, manufacture and supply the Covid-19 vaccines in India and globally.

World coronavirus update: The global tally of coronavirus cases stands at 86,075,495. While 60,986,026 have recovered, 1,859,645 have died so far. The US, the worst-hit country, has 21,338,777 cases, and 361,932 have died from the disease there. It is followed by India, which has 10,357,569 cases, Brazil (7,754,560), Russia (3,260,138), UK (2,713,563).