India set to begin huge vaccine drive

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India will begin its COVID-19 vaccine roll out from January 16, beginning with an estimated 30 million health and frontline workers.

The next in line would be around 270 million people over 50 and those with health vulnerabilities, a federal Health Ministry statement says.

The announcement comes barely a week after India's Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation gave emergency authorisation to two coronavirus vaccines.

One is developed by Britain's Oxford University and pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, and the other has been developed by Indian firm Bharat Biotech.

Pune-based Serum Institute is making the Oxford vaccine, known as Covishield locally, for India and other markets.

A software named Co-Win has been developed to track real-time information of vaccine stocks, their storage temperature and individualised tracking of beneficiaries, the Health Ministry statement said.

Health authorities have said they will focus on vaccinating a "critical mass" of people in the country of 1.3 billion to break the chain of transmission.

The virus has infected more than 10.4 million people in the country and claimed 150,798 lives.