New Delhi: India's coronavirus vaccination drive will begin on January 16, the government said on Saturday.

On top of the priority are the healthcare workers and the frontline workers who are estimated to be around 3 crore, followed by those above 50 years and the under-50 population groups with co-morbidities numbering around 27 crore.

The Prime Minister chaired a high-level meeting to review the status of COVID-19 in the country along with the preparedness of the State/UTs for COVID vaccination, today. The meeting was attended by Cabinet Secretary, Principal Secretary to PM, Health Secretary, and other senior officials concerned.

PM Modi took a detailed and comprehensive review of status of COVID management covering various issues. 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.

After the detailed review, it was decided that in view of the forthcoming festivals which include Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Pongal, Magh Bihu etc., the COVID-19 vaccination will commence from January 16, 2021.

The Prime Minister was also apprised on the three phases of dry runs having been conducted across the country. The third dry run was conducted yesterday across 615 districts covering 4895 session sites in 33 States/UTs.