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30 crore Indians to be vaccinated by July 2021, says Civil Aviation Minister

The vaccine will be available from January, Hardeep Singh Puri has said.

December 29, 2020 / 03:32 PM IST
SII has been adding 40-50 million doses every month, and will be reaching production capacity of about 300 million doses by July 2021. (Image Source: Reuters)

SII has been adding 40-50 million doses every month, and will be reaching production capacity of about 300 million doses by July 2021. (Image Source: Reuters)

About 30 crore Indians will be vaccinated against COVID-19 by July 2021, for which 60 crore doses will be needed, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on December 29.

The vaccine, he said, would be available from January. "We are working with the Ministry of Health and pharmaceutical companies to plan the roll out," Pradeep Singh Kharola, Secretary,  Ministry of Civil Aviation, added, during a media briefing.

The government had identified airports and was also in talks with airlines to take care of the logistics, Puri said. "We have identified facilities that will be used for the vaccine roll out. As soon as the vaccines are announced, we will implement the plan," Kharola said.

Puri said that dry run of the vaccine drive was being done in four states. Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab and Assam are the states chosen for the trial run.

The most critical part would be the management of the vaccine's temperature, said Kharola. The vaccines come with varied requirement. The Pfizer-BioNtech jab has to be stored at minus 70 Celsius.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla on December 28 said he was hoping for the emergency use approval of AstraZeneca-Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine 'Covishield' by the end of this month or January in the UK and India.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Dec 29, 2020 03:32 pm

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