Ten crore people have taken the precaution dose against COVID-19 so far, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Friday.
The government had on July 15 launched a special 75-day special drive to administer precaution doses to all aged 18 years and above at public vaccination centres free of cost.
”10 crore people now have an extra layer of safety. ”Under PM @NarendraModi Ji’s leadership, ’COVID Vaccination #AmritMahotsav’ is going on in full swing to provide free precaution dose for all adults,” Mandaviya said in a tweet.
On July 26, the health ministry said only 7,30,96,284, i.e. 11 per cent of the nearly 69 crore eligible individuals aged 18 years and above had been administered the precaution dose until the previous day.
Officials had attributed the slow uptake to complacency and the waning of fear among people. The precaution dose coverage among the 64,89,99,721 eligible people was only 8 per cent till July 14. The special 75-day drive ’COVID Vaccination Amrit Mahotsav’ was launched as part of the government’s ’Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ to celebrate the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence.
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.
According to sources, around four crore people are yet to take the first dose while about seven crore people are due for their second dose. ”Complacency has set in among the people. Also, the fear of Covid is no more there as people have become familiar with the disease. These are the main reasons for the slow uptake of precaution dose among the eligible population,” a source in the health ministry said.
Asserting that Covid was not yet over, officials urged the public to get jabbed at the earliest. Studies at the Indian Council of Medical Research and other international research institutions have suggested that antibody level wanes in about six months and a booster dose increases the immune response.