you are here: HomeNewsIndia

3rd phase of COVID-19 vaccination covering people aged above 50 likely to begin in March: Govt

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan added that the vaccination drive for frontline workers has begun this week.

February 05, 2021 / 07:28 PM IST
Source: Reuters

Source: Reuters

The third phase of vaccination against the coronavirus is likely to commence in March and will cover 27 crore people aged 50 years and above and those with co-morbidities, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said in Lok Sabha on Friday.

Replying to questions on vaccines and the vaccination drive against the coronavirus during the Question Hour, Vardhan said nearly five million people have been inoculated in the country so far.

He added that the vaccination drive for frontline workers has begun this week.

"In coming days, 27 crore people who are of above 50 years of age and those under 50 with co-morbidities will be vaccinated,” Vardhan said.

Follow our LIVE blog for latest updates of the novel coronavirus pandemic

Close

COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

View more
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.

View more
Show

The vaccination drive began on January 16, starting with healthcare workers and then the frontline workers, both estimated to be around three crore.

"After the completion of first and second phases, the third phase could be launched from any week next month,” Vardhan said.

He added that the third phase will cover people above the age of 50.

"It is not possible to give an exact date, but we estimate that this process can start in the second, third or the fourth week of March,” he said.

Vardhan said the finance minister has allocated Rs 35,000 crore for vaccination in the budget and she has assured that it could be increased if required.

He said two vaccines — Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute, and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech — have been approved for emergency use authorisation.

Besides these, work is in progress on seven vaccines. Of the seven, three vaccines are in phase 3 clinical trial stage.

Two vaccines are in phase 1 and 2 clinical trial stages and the remaining two are in advanced pre-clinical stage.

He said India has received requests for vaccines from 22 countries.

These countries include Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brazil, Egypt, Kuwait, Maldives, Mauritius, Morocco, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, South Africa and the UAE.

There is also request from the Pacific Island countries, he said.

He said India has received requests for vaccines from 22 countries.

Vaccines have already been given to 15 countries through grant assistance and contracted doses.

He said 56 lakh doses have been sent through grants and five lakh doses through contract.

Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.
PTI

stay updated

Get Daily News on your Browser
Sections
ISO 27001 - BSI Assurance Mark