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'More made-in-India vaccines on the way': PM Modi highlights India's vaccination strength in WEF address

Apart from the vaccination drive, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also credited a robust testing and treatment mechanism in India for reducing the pace of coronavirus transmission in the country during his address at the World Economic Forum's Davos Dialogue.

January 28, 2021 / 08:41 PM IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually addressing WEF's Davos Dialogue.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually addressing WEF's Davos Dialogue.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted the strength of India's vaccination programme in his address at the World Economic Forum's Davos Dialogue. While doses of two vaccines are already being supplied by India, "more made-in-India vaccines are on their way", Modi said in his virtual address on January 28.

Bharat Biotech's Covaxin and Serum Institute of India's Covishield - the Indian variant of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine - were cleared by the country' drug regulator earlier this month. The export of vaccines was also cleared by the Modi-led government.

"India is saving the lives of people in many other countries of the world by sending COVID-19 vaccines and developing the necessary infrastructure for the vaccination," Modi said at the forum.

India has so far supplied the vaccines to Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Bangladesh, Nepal, Seychelles, Myanmar, Bhutan, Morocco, and Brazil, among others. A number of countries in North Africa, Asia, and Latin America are expected to receive shipments in the days to come.

"Right now there are two made-in-India vaccines. World Economic Forum will be relieved to know that in the time to come many more vaccines will come from India," Modi added.

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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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"In these tough times, India has been undertaking its global responsibility from the beginning. When airspace was closed in many countries, India took more than 1 lakh citizens to their countries and delivered essential medicines to more than 150 countries," he pointed out.

The Prime Minister also told the virtual gathering of world leaders and experts that India has succeeded in inoculating over 2.3 million people with the vaccine within 12 days of launching the immunisation programme.

The target is to vaccinate 300 million people who are elderly or suffering with comorbidities in the next few months, Modi reiterated.

Apart from the vaccination drive, the Prime Minister also credited a robust testing and treatment mechanism in India for reducing the pace of coronavirus transmission.

"India is one of the few countries that successfully defended its people against COVID-19. The daily count has been falling," he said.

Modi also spoke on the Aatmanirbhar Bharat or self-reliant India campaign which his government spearheaded after the onset of the pandemic. The campaign, claimed Modi, is not against globalisation.

"Our Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan is committed towards global good and global supply chain. India has the capacity, capability and reliability to strengthen the global supply chain," he said.

"India launched 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan' with the resolve of increasing the capacity of our economy. India made one reform after the other to provide a high growth trajectory to economy in this decade. These reforms were long awaited," he added.

Modi also highlighted the emphasis placed by his government in strengthening the country's digital connectivity in the last six years.

"In the last 6 years, India's digital drive has become a subject of interest even for WEF experts," he said.

"In December, Rs 4 trillion of transactions were enabled through the UPI," he said, while also adding that Rs 1.8 trillion was cumulatively transferred to the bank accounts of various beneficiaries in India during the COVID-19 period.

A total of 1.3 billion Aadhar cards have been issued in India so far, around 1.1 billion mobile connections are registered and the number of internet subscribers has reached 750 million, Modi said.

The country is setting up 300,000 common service centres to bridge the digital gap in villages, he said, adding that "600,000 villages will be connected by Fibre Net in the next few years".

He noted that "we want to invest in frontier technology such as AI (artificial intelligence)". The government, while focusing on digital penetration, is also working on a strong law for data protection, he said.

Modi also claimed that an environment conducive for industries is prevailing in India.

"The government has continuously taken several major steps to boost manufacturing. Corporate tax was brought down to 15 percent for new manufacturing units. Through GST and Faceless Assessment, tax structure has been simplified. Labour laws have been reformed," he added.
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