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Dilip Kumar

Bhubaneswar: The emergency Covid-19 vaccination is completely optional and not mandatory for health workers, said Director of Medical Education and Training (DMET) Dr CBK Mohanty on Wednesday.

"The State government had earlier clarified that only those who give their consent will be vaccinated. It is completely optional. We can’t force anybody to get vaccinated. Two doses will be administered to those willing to under vaccination. It will be done in a period of 28 days", Mohanty added.

In the first phase, over 3 lakh health workers will be vaccinated. The Government is well prepared to roll out the programme once the vaccines reach the State, Mohanty added.

Similarly, the director of Odisha Health and Family Welfare Department, Bijay Panigrahi on Wednesday informed that Odisha will receive the Covid-19 vaccine directly from the manufacturing company in the “very near future”.

"Though we have not specified any particular time for the arrival of the vaccines, we expect to receive the consignment in the near future. The vaccines will directly come from the manufacturing company. The vaccines will be stored at the State vaccine store from where those will despatched to districts," Panigrahi said.

The State government has provided the database of the beneficiaries to the Centre which will decide on how many doses to be allocated to the State, he added.

The State has adequate equipment including vaccinators and others to carry out the vaccination drive, he claimed.

Earlier, the State Health and Family Welfare Department had directed district Collectors and Commissioners of all Municipal Corporations to identify session sites and constitute a five-member team for each site for the vaccination drive.

They have been asked to submit a report by January 8. All preparations for the vaccination will be completed by January 10.

In a letter to the district officials, additional chief secretary PK Mohapatra had earlier stated that as per the operational guideline of COVID-19 vaccination it is essential to identify suitable session site with facilities of waiting room, vaccination room and observation room for vaccination of Health Care Workers (HCWs) in the first phase.

The Centre on Tuesday wrote to the State to remain prepared for the vaccination drive. In the letter, it was mentioned that the vaccine will reach Odisha very soon.

In a related development, the State on Wednesday registered zero fatality in last 24 hours due to the deadly virus for the first time after six months.

“There are no COVID deaths in the State in the last 24 hours,” informed the State Health and Family Welfare Department in a tweet today.

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