The Maharashtra government is ready to vaccinate 15 lakh people per day against COVID-19, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Monday as he cautioned people in light of the anticipated third wave of the pandemic and the danger of the Delta Plus variant.
Speaking virtually at the inauguration function of a jumbo COVID Care Centre (CCC) in suburban Malad, Thackeray said the need of the hour was to be more cautious and remain alert considering the threat of a possible third wave of the pandemic.
Thackeray said the health of citizens was a priority for his government and there will be no compromise on protecting them from COVID-19.
"There is also a threat from the delta plus variant. Even though the daily number of COVID-19 cases is falling, people should continue to follow the COVID appropriate behaviour. We are ready to vaccinate 15 lakh people per day," he said.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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.
A total of 3,11,59,607 people have been vaccinated so far against COVID-19 in Maharashtra. On June 26, Maharashtra set a new record for itself by vaccinating more than 7 lakh people in a day, a state health department official had said.
The chief minister said the second wave of the pandemic is not ended yet.
"Though the bed occupancy is less now, the COVID appropriate behaviour has to be followed by all. In the first wave, we (the government) were the first to erect a jumbo COVID facility at BKC (Bandra Kurla Complex) in a record time," he added.
The Malad CCC, constructed by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), is one of the four new facilities being set up to strengthen the health infrastructure to tackle the possible third wave of the pandemic.
The newly-constructed jumbo CCC has 2,170 beds out of which 70 per cent are oxygen beds and 192 are ICU beds. There are 200 oxygen beds and 50 ICU beds for the paediatrics ward.
Apart from Malad, CCCs will come up at Kanjurmarg, Sion, and at Racecourse in Worli in Mumbai. Additionally, the bed capacity at NESCO centre, Richardson and Cruddas facility at Byculla and the NSCI is being ramped up.
Maharashtra on Sunday reported 9,974 fresh coronavirus positive cases and 143 fatalities, taking the tally of infections to 60,36,821 and the toll to 1,21,286, the state Health Department had said.Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.