India to start nationwide vaccination drive

India is getting ready to begin a nationwide vaccination drive this weekend against the coronavirus.

Indian Health Ministry officials say the country is fully prepared for the massive undertaking. Airlines began transporting more than 5.6 million doses of the vaccine on Tuesday.

The first round of the shots are being delivered to distribution centers around the country. The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine for local use is manufactured at an institute in the western city of Pune.

Officials say about 30 million health and other frontline workers will be given priority. They'll be followed by around 270 million people older than 50 and other people at risk.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the move as a "landmark step" in India's fight against the virus.
The country's drugs regulator recently approved emergency use of the AstraZeneca vaccine and another one developed by local firm Bharat Biotech.

Ahead of the campaign, India conducted two dry runs to ascertain the best way to administer the vaccines and detect any logistical loopholes in their distribution.
More than 10 million people in India have been infected with the virus. Only the United States has more cases.