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COVID-19 update | Centre approves Rs 23,123 crore as emergency health package to fight pandemic

With the help of this emergency package, the health ministry is aiming at augmenting 20,000 ICU beds in public healthcare system with 20 percent pediatrics ICU beds.

July 13, 2021 / 05:28 PM IST
Elderly people leave after receiving COVID-19 vaccines in Mumbai, March 8. (Image: AP)

Elderly people leave after receiving COVID-19 vaccines in Mumbai, March 8. (Image: AP)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Union government on July 13 approved Rs 23,123 crore as 'India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Package' (ERHSPP), to fight with the pandemic.

With the help of this emergency package, the health ministry is aiming at augmenting 20,000 ICU beds in public healthcare system with 20 percent pediatrics ICU beds.

Apart from this, the Ministry will create pediatric units in all 736 districts and establish pediatric centre of excellence in each State and Union Territory. These units will provide Tele-ICU services, mentoring and hand-holding to the district pediatric units, Joint Health Secretary Luv Agarwal said while addressing a press conference.

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The government will use the ERHSPP to add additional beds at the existing CHCs, PHCs and HSCs. The funds will also be used to establish bigger field hospitals depending on the needs at tier-II and tier-III cities and district headquarters, said Agarwal.

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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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Citing the storage of medical oxygen in April, 2021, the central government will install 1,050 numbers of liquid medical oxygen storage tanks with medical gas pipeline system with an aim to support at at least one such unit per district.

Also, 8,800 new ambulances will be added and continue to engage undergraduate and post-graduate medical interns and final year MBBS, BSc, and GNM nursing students in emergency response and health system preparedness program.

Meanwhile, the health ministry informed that a total of 30.66 crore people in the country have been vaccinated with the first dose, while 7.49 crore vaccines have been administered as second dose. Health workers and frontline workers have been administered a total of 1.76 crore and 2.77 crore vaccines, respectively. That apart, 21.08 crore people with age over 45 years and 11.82 crore people between 18-44 years of age have been vaccinated.

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