People above 60 years of age can get COVID-19 vaccines from March 1 and those above 45 years with co-morbidities can also get the shots. The government also allowed private hospitals to charge and vaccinate patients. Vaccines will be free at government hospitals. Sangita Reddy, Joint MD, Apollo Hospitals Group shared her views and outlook.
"This is a positive step towards this overall vaccination of the country," she said.
"We have adequate vaccines and that is exactly why the government has opened this up to accelerate the pace of delivery of vaccine," she added.
In terms of pricing, she pointed out, "It depends on the price of procurement of the vaccine. If we get the vaccine at the same price as the government at Rs 200-250 that we have heard about then Rs 400 should be an adequate price to move forward."
By March 1, 2021, all 20,000 private facilities which are getting designated right now for vaccinations will be ready. "So you will have 30,000 centres approximately doing 100-200 vaccinations per day. 30-60 lakhs per day is the current capacity of India, most likely it could go up further,” she shared.
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.
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Govt has given its go-ahead to rope in pvt hospitals to increase speed & coverage of #vaccinations. @drsangitareddy, Jt MD, @HospitalsApollo says we will see a huge ramp-up in vaccinations from 1st March & 500 m vaccinations in 60 days is a doable objective. @ekta_batra (2/2) pic.twitter.com/FqFLUJNvj9
— CNBC-TV18 (@CNBCTV18News) February 25, 2021