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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will kick-off COVID-19 vaccination drive on January 16 as the country initiates the world’s largest vaccination programme.

India has authorised two COVID-19 vaccines – indigenous Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin & Serum Institute of India vaccine Covishield for emergency use.

In the first phase, priority will be given to nearly three crore healthcare and frontline workers, the government has said. After healthcare and frontline workers, priority will be given to those above 50 years of age and the under-50 population groups with co-morbidities numbering around 27 crore.

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The decision to launch India’s vaccination drive was taken after Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the status of COVID-19 situation and vaccine preparedness.

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“After the detailed review, it was decided that in view of the forthcoming festivals including Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Pongal, Magh Bihu, etc, the Covid-19 vaccination will start from January 16, 2021,” a government statement earlier said.

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“Emergency Use Authorisation or Accelerated Approval has been granted by the National Regulator for two vaccines (Covishield and Covaxin) which have established safety and immunogenicity,” the government said.