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Centre approves financial aid of Rs 5 lakh each to 67 families of journalists who died of COVID-19

More than 250 journalists have died in India since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, but the Centre will be providing financial assistance to only families of 67 deceased scribes.

May 27, 2021 / 08:41 PM IST
FILE -- Elias Israelsen, 12, receives their first COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, May 13, 2021, at Community Health Center, Inc., in East Hartford, Conn. Immunity to the coronavirus lasts at least a year, possibly a lifetime, improving over time especially after vaccination, according to two new studies. (Christopher Capozziello/The New York Times)

FILE -- Elias Israelsen, 12, receives their first COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, May 13, 2021, at Community Health Center, Inc., in East Hartford, Conn. Immunity to the coronavirus lasts at least a year, possibly a lifetime, improving over time especially after vaccination, according to two new studies. (Christopher Capozziello/The New York Times)

Centre on May 27 approved financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh each to the families of journalists who died of COVID-19.

The financial assistance, under the Journalist Welfare Scheme of the Ministry of Information and Broadcast, will be provided to 67 families of scribes who lost their lives to COVID-19, news agency ANI reported.

Making the announcement, the Government of India said: “Centre approves financial assistance to 67 families of journalists who lost their lives to Covid. Each family to get Rs5 lakhs under the Journalist Welfare Scheme of I&B Ministry. Committee to hold JWS meetings on weekly basis to process the applications expeditiously.”

Although more than 250 journalists have died in India since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the Centre will be providing financial assistance to only families of 67 deceased scribes.

As per a study by the Delhi-based Institute of Perception Studies, as many as 238 journalists have died of COVID-19 in India, between April 2020 and May 16, 2021. By May 19, this number had risen to 253. And this is only based on data of cases that have been verified; the actual number may be higher.

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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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The report by the Institute of Perception Studies further stated that the second wave of the pandemic has been worse for media personnel, as 171 journalists have died in just one and a half months – from April 1 to May 16, 2021.

Between April 2020 and December 2020, 56 journalists had died of COVID-19. The remaining 11 succumbed to the novel coronavirus disease between January 2021 and April 2021.

According to a Press Emblem Campaign report released in April, India ranks third vis-à-vis journalist deaths, coming next to only Brazil and Peru.

Several Indian states such as West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and Uttarakhand have declared journalists as frontline workers so that they can be vaccinated against COVID-19 on priority.

Follow our coverage of the coronavirus crisis here



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first published: May 27, 2021 08:41 pm
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