An Indian army convoy carrying reinforcement and supplies, drives towards Leh, on a highway bordering China

NEW DELHI: Troops posted in Ladakh will be among the first to get vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus as the national plan goes underway from January 16, with officials saying that vaccine centres are fully geared for mass inoculations, with frontline troops to be given top priority.

The first soldiers to get the vaccine in Ladakh are likely to be medical staff consisting of doctors and paramedics, followed by soldiers deployed to forward locations as more doses become available. For January 16—the first day of the national roll out—the army has secured 3,820 doses for soldiers posted in Ladakh.

Officials said that detailed plans have been put in place to ensure that soldiers get the vaccinations as soon as possible. The plan involves vaccinating armed forces medical responders first, followed by troops posted at sensitive areas along the border.

In the run up to the vaccination process, military formations were asked to draw up plans for a priority list of vaccinations, which will now be followed. “Soldiers in Ladakh will get the first dose of the vaccine along with civilian medical responders on Saturday,” an official told ET.

In most military stations, vaccination centres have been notified and dry runs have been conducted to ensure maximum efficiency. Services have also drawn up internal priority lists, with troops deployed at close proximity postings likely to get the first doses. The navy, for example, is likely to ensure that submarine crews—where there is limited space and a lack of fresh air—will be on the priority list of vaccinations.

Officials said that measures to isolate troops—specially those deployed to frontline areas—have worked with no major outbreak of Covid-19 reported among active combatants. “We have not had any major case at frontline locations as very strict protocols have been followed, which include mandatory isolation for those coming back from leave,” an official said.