After injecting shots against COVID-19 to over 3.6 lakh beneficiaries, authorities in Delhi are now set for the roll-out of the second phase of the inoculation drive on March 1. In the second phase, people aged above 60 years and those over 45 with comorbidities will be vaccinated.
At Delhi government hospitals, doctors and other medical staff were upbeat about the second phase of the drive. Over 13,000 beneficiaries had received anti-COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, a significant fall from the number of people who had got the shots a day before, according to data shared by officials.
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More than 3.6 lakh beneficiaries have received the vaccine till Friday in Delhi since the start of the inoculation drive a month ago, with over 18,900 people receiving jabs on Thursday. Sources in the Delhi government said preparations are in full swing for the next phase. However, the number of vaccination centres and modalities with empanelled private hospitals are still being worked out.
While the vaccination will be free at government vaccination centres, a set charge with a cap of Rs 250 per dose could be taken by any of these empanelled private facilities, the officials said. Under the second phase, eligible beneficiaries would be able to register themselves on the Co-WIN platform from Monday itself. There will also be a walk-in provision for the beneficiaries to get themselves registered at the session sites.
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.
Suresh Kunar, medical director of the Delhi government-run LNJP Hospital, said, "We are all set for the second phase to begin from Monday". "People aged above 60, and those aged 45-59 with comorbidities will receive the shots now," he said.
R S Sharma, the chairman of the Empowered Group on COVID-19 vaccine Administration, earlier said the new version of the Co-WIN platform will be GPS-enabled and the beneficiaries will have the option to choose the inoculation session site both at the government and private facilities. There will be volunteers to help those opting for walk-in registration with the process if they are not tech-savvy.
Co-WIN, a digital platform, was created for real-time monitoring of COVID-19 vaccine delivery. People aged above 45 years will have to upload a medical certificate mentioning their comorbid conditions. Under the nationwide mega vaccination drive launched on January 16, a total of 4,319 (53 per cent) health workers against a target of 8,117 were administered the shots at 81 centres across the city on day one.
The number of centres were gradually expanded to over 300 till date. As per doctors, the second dose is to be given to a beneficiary after a gap of 28 days.
As per the data shared by the officials on Friday, over 3.6 lakh people have received vaccine shots in Delhi. Out of the total tally, more than 1.46 lakh are healthcare workers and over 2.2 lakh are frontline workers.