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Coronavirus

India Planning to Start Vaccine Drive in 1 Week

NEW DELHI — The government of India is planning to kick off a vaccination drive on Jan. 16 to stem COVID-19 in the world’s second-most populous country.

The Health Ministry said Saturday that priority will be given to healthcare workers and others performing frontline duties during the pandemic, categories that together are estimated to include around 30 million people.

They will be followed by individuals over age 50 and younger people with underlying health conditions, numbering around 270 million, the ministry said in a statement.

Last week, India’s drugs regulator gave emergency authorization for the vaccine developed by Oxford University and U.K.-based drugmaker AstraZeneca, and for another developed by Indian company Bharat Biotech.

The ministry said that both vaccines would be administered in two dosages.

With 10.4 million confirmed coronavirus cases, India has the second-highest total behind the United States. Indian has reported almost 150,800 virus-related deaths during the pandemic.

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