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Adar Poonawalla promised 1.5 crore Covishield doses to Maharashtra after May 20: Rajesh Tope

Amid shortage of doses, the Maharashtra government has temporarily suspended COVID-19 vaccination of individuals in 18-44 age group

May 13, 2021 / 09:05 AM IST
A vial of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, which is produced in India and marketed as Covishield (Image: Reuters/Gleb Garanich)

A vial of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, which is produced in India and marketed as Covishield (Image: Reuters/Gleb Garanich)

Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla has promised Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray that 1.5 crore doses of Covishield will be delivered to the state after May 20, Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope said on May 12.

"Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla has promised the Chief Minister to deliver 1.5 crore doses of Covishield to Maharashtra after May 20. We will start the vaccination for the 18-44 years age group after we receive the vaccine." Tope was quoted as saying by ANI.

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Amid shortage of doses, the Maharashtra government has temporarily suspended COVID-19 vaccination of individuals in 18-44 age group, and said that doses will be diverted for those aged 45 and above.

At a meeting on May 12, the Maharashtra Cabinet recommended extension of the lockdown in the state. Tope said Thackeray will take the final decision on the matter.

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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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Maharashtra minister Aslam Sheikh said the Centre should ease the rules for purchasing COVID-19 vaccines.

"If the Centre eases its import laws a bit, we will be able to vaccinate people in three to four months. More rights need to be given to states so that we can purchase vaccines from the market and vaccinate people," he was quoted as saying by ANI.

Maharashtra on May 12 reported a single-day spike of 46,781 new COVID-19 cases and 816 deaths. The state has so far reported more than 52 lakh cases and over 78,000 deaths since the pandemic began, the highest caseload among states and Union Territories in the country.

More than 1.8 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Maharashtra so far, of which 1.51 crore are first doses and 38.11 lakh are second doses.
Moneycontrol News
first published: May 13, 2021 09:02 am

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